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JSECT. I. Testimonies of ancient sages and philosophers, 
concerning the necessity of the doctrine of a future state 
to civil society _ pp 4 j 12 

SECT. II. That none of the ancient philosophers believed 
the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments, 
though, on account of its confessed necessity to the sup- 
pc~t of religion, and consequently of civil society, all 
the theistical philosophers sedulously taught it to the 
people. The several senses in which the Ancients con 
ceived the permanency of the human soul explained. 
Several genera] reasons premised, to shew that the 
ancient philosophers did not always believe what they 
taught, and that they taught the doctrine of a future state 
of rewards and punishments without believing it : Where 
the principles that induced the ancient sages to make it 
Jawful to deceive for public good, in matters of religion 
are explained, whereby they are seen to be such as had 
no place in tne propagation or genius of the Jewish and 
Uinstian religions, in the course of this enquiry, the 
rise, progress, perfection, decline, and genius of the 
ancient Greek philosophy, under its several divisions, are 
considered and explained - - pp. 12 j_ 44 

pECT. Ill Enters on a particular enquiry into the senti 
ments of each sect of philosophy on this point. The 
division and succession of their schools. The character 
ot bocrates*, and of the new and old Academy. The ? 
character and genius of each sect of the grand Quaternion 
of theistic philosophy, the Pythagoric, the Platonic, the 
Peripatetic, and the Stoic: shewing that not one of these 
believed the doctrine of a future state of rewards and 
punishments. The character of Tully, and his sentiments 


on tliis point. The original of the ancient fables, and of 
the doctrines of tiie Metempsychosis and Metamorphosis, 
occasionally enquired into and explained - pp. 43 ^5 

"SECT. IV. Shews, h) order to a fuller conviction, that the 
ancient philosophers not only did not, but that they 
could not possibly believe a future state of rewards and 
punishments, because two metaphysical principles, con 
cerning the nature of God, and of the human soul, which 
entirely overturn the doctrine of a future state of rc- 
ivards and punishments, were universally held and be 
lieved by all the Greek philosophers. These doctrines 
examined and explained: In the course of this enquiry, 
the true genius of the ancient Egyptian wisdom ex 
plained; and their pretended philosophy, as delivered by 
the later Greek writers, shewn to be spurious. The Sec 
tion concludes with the use to be made of this remarkable 
fact (of the ancient philosophers not believing, and yet 
sedulously teaching, a future., state of rewards and punish- 
meats) for the support of our main question, pp. 125 208 

SECT. V. This account of the ancient philosophy, so far 
from being prejudicial to Christianity, that it greatly 
credits and recommends it. Proved from t4io mischiefs 
that attend those different representations of paganism, 
in the two extremes, which the defenders of religion are 
accustomed to make : where it is shewn that the diffe 
rence in point of perfection, between the ancient and 
modem systems of morality, is entirely owing to Christi 
anity pp. 208- 215 

SECT. VI. The atheistical pretence of religion s being an 
invention of statesmen, and therefore false, clearly con 
futed, and shewn to be both impertinent and false. For 
that, was the Atheist s account of religion right, it would 
not follow that religion was/z/se, but the contrary. But 
the pretence false and groundless, religion having existed 
before the civil magistrate ,\as in being - pp. 215 314 


ISOTES - - - PP. 355399 


p. 60. (notej) /or [M] read [N], 
p.6 5. (note*) for [P] read [O]. 
p. 146. 1. 5. for below, read above. 






IN the beginning of the last book, I entered upon 
the proof of my second proposition ; namely, 


And the method I laid down for it, was, 1 . To shew 
the conduct of Legislators, and the founders of civil 
policy. 2. The opinions of the wisest and most learned 
of the ancient Sages. 

fully examined in the last book. 


is the subject of the present. 



THEY too, as well as the Lawgivers, were unani 
mous in this point, how discordant soever and at 
variance amongst themselves, in other matters. 
Whatever System of Policy the Historian favour 
ed ; whatever Theory of Nature the Philosopher 
espoused; THIS always remained an unquestionable 
principle: The favourer of arbitrary power deemed 
it the strongest bond of blind obedience ; and the 
friend of civil liberty, the largest source of virtue 
and a public spirit. The Atheist, from the vastness 
of its social use, concluded Religion to be but an 
invention of State ; and the Theist, from that con 
fessed utility, laboured to prove it of divine original. 

To give the reader a detail of the discourses, 
where this truth is owned and supported, would be 
to transcribe Antiquity : for, with this begins and 
ends every thing they teach and explain of Morals, 
Government, human Nature, and civil Policy. I 
shall therefore content myself with two or three 
passages, as a specimen only, of the general voice 
of ancient Wisdom. 

Timasus the Locrian, a very early Pythagorean, 
well practised in affairs, and, in Plato s opinion, of 
consummate knowledge in philosophy, discoursing 
on the remedies to moral evil, after having spoken 


of the use of philosophy to lead well- tempered 
minds to happiness, by teaching the measures of 
just and unjust; adds, that, for intractable spirits 
civil Society was invented; which keeps men in fear 


by the coercions of Law and Religion: " But if we 
" come (says he) to a perverse ungovernable dispo- 
" sition, there, punishments should be applied ; 
" both those which civil laws inflict, and those 
" which the tenors of religion denounce against the 
" wicked from above and from below : as, that 
" ENDLESS PUNISHMENTS attend the remains of 
" unhappy men ; and all those torments, which I 
" highly applaud the Ionic poet for recording from 
" ancient tradition, in order to cleanse and purify 
" the mind from vice *." 

That sage historian, Poljbius (whose knowledge 
of mankind and civil Government was so cele 
brated, that Rome preferred him to the august em 
ployment of composing laws for Greece, now 
become a province to the republic) speaking of the 
excellence of the Roman Constitution, expresseth 
himself in this manner : " But the superior excel- 
" lenceof this Policy, above others, manifests itself, 
" in my opinion, chiefly in the religious notions 
" the Romans hold concerning the Gods : that 
" thing, which in other places is turned to abuse, 
" being the very support of the Roman affairs ; I 
" mean THE FEAR OF THE GODS, or what the 

a T IK TOIV wfAuv xj a IK TUV hoyuv truvlovx iirayzffa 


vsplepoif xj la^a, ova k^aivsu rov lowboy 

rug kvayeag. Ueft ^vHa$ uwtw. Timaeus, p. 23. in 
Opusculis My th. Eth. et. Physicis, Cantabr. 1671, 8vo. 

" Greeks 


Greeks call superstition ; which is come to such a 

" height, both in its influence on particulars, and 

" on the public, as cannot be exceeded. This, 

" which many may think unaccountable, seems 

" plainly to have been contrived for the sake of the 
* Community. I^Jndeed, one were to frame a 

" civil Policy only for wise men, it is possible this 

u kind of Institution might not be necessary. But 

" since the multitude is ever fickle and capricious,. 

" full of lawless passions, arid irrational and violent 

" resentments, there is no way left to keep them in 

" order, but by the terrors of FUTURE PUNISH- 

" ME NT, and all the pompous circumstance that 

" attends such kind of fictions. On which account 

** the Ancients acted, in my opinion, with great 

K judgement and penetration,, when they contrived 
" to bring in these notions of the Gods, and of a 

" FUTURE STATE, into the popular belief; and 

" the present age as inconsiderate! y } and absurdly, 

" in removing them, and encouraging the multitude 

" to despise their terrors. For see now the conse- 

" quence : in Greece, the man who is entrusted 

" with the public money (to pass by other matters) 

" though it be but of a single talent, and though he 

" give a ten-fold security in the most authentic form. 

" and before twice the number of witnesses which 

" the Law requires, cannot be brought to discharge 

;f his engagements-} while, amongst the Romans, 

" the mere RELIGION OF AN OATH keeps those, 

t( who have vast sums of money passing through 

" their 


" their hands, either in the public administration or 
" in foreign legations, iroin the least violation of 
" their trust, or honour. And whereas, in other 
** places, it is rare to find a man, who can keep his 
" hands clean, or forbear plundering his Country ; 
" in Rome it is as rare to take any one offending in 
" this kind. That every thing which exists is sub- 
" ject to mutation and decay, we need not be told; 
46 the unalterable nature of things sufficiently informs 
" us of this truth. But there being two ways, 
* whereby every kind of Policy is ruined and dis- 
" solved ; the one from WITHOUT, and the other 
" from WITHIN ; that destruction, which cometh 
** from without, cannot be constantly avoided by any 
* human provision : but then, there are known and 
41 efficacious remedies for those evils which arise 
41 from within*/ 


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Polybius says literally, There are two ways by 
which a State is brought to dissolution, from without 
and from within : that from without is uncertain 
and little known ; that from within is known and 
certain. By which words he must mean what I 
make him to say, as appears by what he imme 
diately subjoins, where he shews how the power of 
the Great, when degenerated into tyranny, may 
be checked by the People : whose opposition to 
power produces, as it happens to be well or ill 
managed, either the best or worst form of govern 
ment, a Democracy or Ochlocracy. 

This long passage deserves our attention, and for 
many reasons. Polybius was a Greek, and, as all 
good men are, a tender lover of his Country, whose 




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lib. vi. c. 54; 55- 

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v. E Polyb. Historiaruni; 


ancient glory and virtue were then fast on the 
decline, and the Roman mounting to its meridian. 
The melancholy reflexions, arising from this view 
of things, were always uppermost in his thoughts : 
so that speaking here of the great influence which 
Religion had on the minds of the Romans, he could 
not forbear giving his countrymen a lesson, and 
instructing them in what he esteemed the principal 
cause of their approaching ruin; namely, a certain 
libertinism, which had spread amongst the PEOPLE 
o7 CONDITION, who, ashamed of the simplicity 
of their Ancestors, and despising the ignorance 
of the People, affected a superior penetration, which 
brought them to regard, and preposterously to teacb 
others to regard, the restraints of religion as illusory 
and unmanly. This he confirms by shewing the 
strong influence religion hath on the morals of men. 
But to understand what follows, of the two ways by 
which a state comes to rum, from without and from 
rafAw, which seems to be brought in a little abruptly, 
we must suppose, that those, to whom the historian 
addresses himself, had objected, That It was not a 
want of piety amongst themselves, but the force of 
the Roman arms without, which had broken the 
power of Greece ; and that this disaster they were 
patiently to submit to, because all empires have their 
stated periods. Let us suppose this, and the politi 
cal reflexion on the fall of States will have a high 
propriety, and close connection with what preceded. 
It is to this effect : " I agree with you, says Poly- 

B 4 

bius, that evils, coming suddenly on a State from 
without, cannot be easily warded ; but then, those 
arising from within, as they are commonly foreseen, 
have their remedies at hand. Now I take our 
misfortunes to have proceeded from these : for had 
not a neglect of religion depraved the manners 
of the Greeks, Rome had wanted both pretence and 
inclination to invade us, and Greece would have 
continued able to support its own sovereignty : 
therefore your trite aphorism of the mutability of 
human things is here altogether misapplied." 

But had this great man lived only one age later, 
lie would have found large occasion of addressing 
this very admonition to the Romans themselves; 
when the same libertine spirit foreran and con 
tributed to the destruction of their Republic ; and 
religion had so lost its hold of those, whom, in the 
time of Polybius, it so entirely possessed, that 
Caesar could dare, in full senate, with a degree of 
licence unexampled in Antiquity, to declare, that 
the doctrine of a future state of rewards and 
punishments was all a groundless notion. This 
was a dreadful prognostic of their approaching 

If this great politician then may deserve credit, 
it would be worth while for our People of condition 
to look about them, and compute their gains by 
such a conduct: those of them I mean, if any such 
there be, who profess to love their Country, and yet 
as publicly .despise the Religion of it. One of 


them, who did both in an eminent degree, and who 
would substitute a TASTE, instead of a future 
state, for the government of the world, thus ex- 
presseth himself: " Even conscience, I fear, such, 
" as is owing to religious discipline, w ill make but 
" a slight figure, where this TASTERS set amiss. 
" Amongst the vulgar perhaps it may do wonders; 
" a devil and a hell may prevail, where a jail and a 
" gallows are thought insufficient. But such is the 
" nature of the liberal, polished, and refined part 
" of mankind ; so far are they from the mere sim- 
" plic ity of babes and sucklings, that, instead of 
" applying the notion of a future reward or punish- 
" ment to their immediate behaviour in society, they 
" are apt much rather, through the whole course 
* of their lives, to shew evidently that they look on 
" the pious narrations to be indeed no better than 
" children s talcs and the amusement of the mere 
" vulgar*." 

I will not now ask, Where was the religion, 
but where was the civil prudence of this great 
patriot ? For if it be indeed true, as he con 
fesses, that amongst the vulgar a devil and a hell 
may prevail, where a jail and a gallows are thought 
insufficient; why would this lover of his country 
take off so necessary a restraint on the manners of 
the multitude ? If he says he would not, I ask., 
why then hath he publicly ridiculed it ? Or was it 

* Characteristics, vol.iii. p. 177. edit. 3. 


Indeed his intention to make all his fellow- citizens 
MEN OF TASTP:? He might as well have thought 
of making them all LORDS *. 

So absurd and pernicious is the conduct of the 
Free-thinkers, even admitting them to be in the right. 
But if, instead of removing the rubbish of super 
stition, they be indeed subverting the grounds of 
true religion, what name must be given to this de 
gree of madness and impiety ? 

On the whole, I fear we are in no right way. 
Whether in the Public too we resemble the picture 
this sage historian hath drawn of degenerated 
Oreece, I leave to such as are better skilled in those 
.matters to determine. 

The great Geographer, whose knowledge of men 
and manners was as extensive as the habitable globe, 
speaks to the same purpose: " The multitude in 
" society are allured to virtue by those enticing 
" fables, which the poets tell of the illustrious 
" achievements of ancient heroes, such as the 
" labours of Hercules and Theseus ; and the rewards 
" conferred by the Gods, for well-doing. So again, 
" they are restrained from vice by the punishments, 
" the Gods are said to inflict upon offenders, and 
" by those f terrors and ihreatnings which certain 
" dreadful words and monstrous forms imprint upon 
^ their minds; or by believing that divine judge- 

* See note [A] at tbe end of this Book. 
f See note [B] at the end of this Book. 

" merits 


" ments have overtaken evil men. For it is im* 
" possible to govern women and the gross body of 

" the people, and to keep them pious, holy, and 
" virtuous, by the precepts of philosophy: this can 
" be only done by the FEAR OF THE GODS; which 
" is raised and supported by ancient fictions and 
" modern prodigies. The thunder therefore of 
Jupiter, the JEgis of Minerva, the Trident of 
ef Neptune, the Thyrsus of Bacchus, and the Snakes 
" and Torches of the Furies, with all the other 
" apparatus of ancient theology, were the engines 
." which the Legislator employed, ^ as bugbears, to 
" strike a terror into the childish imaginations of 
" the Multitude *." 

Lastly, Pliny the elder " owns it to be expedient 
" for society, that men should believe, that the 
" Gods concerned themselves in human affairs; 
" and that the punishments they inflict on offen- 

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Strabo, Gcogr, 1. i. 

" ders, 


" ders, though sometimes late indeed, as from 
" Governors busied in the administration of so vast 
" an Universe, yet are never to he evaded *." 
Thus He, though an Epicurean; but an Epicurean 
in his senses -: from whom we hear nothing of the 
mad strains of Lucretius, " That all religion should 
1 be abolished, as inconsistent with the peace of 
" mankind." 


BUT to give this matter its full evidence, it will 
be proper to set together the PUBLIC PROFESSIONS, 
arid the PRIVATE SENTIMENTS of the ancient 
THEISTICAL PHILOSOPHERS: who, notwithstanding 
they were for ever discoursing on the doctrine of 
a future state of rewards and punishments, to the 
People, yet were all the while speculating in private 
on other and different principles. A conduct which 
could proceed from nothing, but a full persuasion 
that this doctrine was the very vital part of Religion ; 
and the only support of that influence, which divinje 
worship hath on the minds of the Multitude. 

Now, though after reading their history, reflecting 
on their characters, and examining their writing* 
with all the care I was able, it appeared to me, 

* Verum in his Decs agere curam rerum huipanarum 
credi, ex usu vitae est; pcenasque maleficiis aliquando 
seras, occupato Deo in tanta mole, nunquam autem 
irritas esse. Hist. JCat. 1. ii. c. 7. 



that these men believed nothing of that future, state 
which they so industriously propagated in the world; 
and therefore on this, as well as other accounts, 
deserved all that asperity of language with which 
they are treated by the Sacred writers ; yet the 
contrary having been long and generally taken for 
granted, and their real opinions often urged by our 
ablest divines, as conformable and favourable to the 
Christian doctrine of a future state; I suspect that 
what I have here said, will be exclaimed against as 
an unreasonable and licentious paradox. 

But, for all this, I do not despair of proving it a 
certain, though an unheeded, truth: and then I shall 
hope my reader s pardon for the length of this 
enquiry, as it is of no small moment to shew the 
sense Antiquity had of the use of a future state to 
Society: and as, in shewing that use, I shall be 
able to clear up a very important point of antiquity, 
doubly obscured, by length of time and perversity 
of contradiction. 

But, before I enter on the matter, I shall, in order 
to abate the general prejudice, explain what is meant 
by that FUTURE STATE, which, I suppose, the 
this the rather, because the contrary opinion has 
continued the longer unquestioned, through the lax 
and ambiguous use of the term. Thus, because it 
was evident, that all, or most of the theistical 
philosophers believed^ as well as taught, the immor 
tality, or rather the eternity of the soul, men, tied 


down to the associations of modern ideas, concluded 
that they believed, as well as taught, the doctrine 
of a future state of rewards and punishments. 

To make the reader, therefore, master of the 
question, it will not be unfit, just to distinguish the 
several senses, in which the Ancients conceived the 
PERMANENCY of the human soul; and to reserve 
the explanation of them, and assignment of them 
to their proper authors, for another place. 

This permanency was either, 

I. A SIMPLE EXISTENCE after this life : Or, 

PUNISHMENT, according to men s behaviour here. 

Each of these was two-fold. 
Simple existence was either, 




Existence in a state of rewards and punishments 
was either, 







The LAST is that notion of a future state, so- 
useful to Society, which all the Lawgivers, Priests,. 
and Philosophers publicly taught and propagated ;: 
and which the People throughout the whole earth 
universally believed. Of this, the METEMPSY 
CHOSIS was, generally, a part; and, what is more,, 
continues to be so to this very clay, amongst the 
civilized Gentiles of the East. 

It is A FUTURE STATE, then, OF REWARDS and* 
PUNISHMENTS IN GENERAL, and particularly the 
second and proper notion of it (for as to thejirsf r 
it was peculiar to the Platpnists) which I pretend to. 
prove the ancient Philosophers did not believe. 

But before I proceed to explain the principles 
of each sect, it will not be improper to premise 
those GENERAL REASONS, which induced me to 
think that the Philosophers did not always believe 
what they taught : And that they taught this doc 
trine without believing it. And as the reader s chief 
prejudice, on this point, ariseth from the Philo 

sophers having talked and written so much in 
behalf of a future state of rewards and punish 
ments; the three first of the following general 
reasons will shew, i. That they all thought it lawful 
to say one thing, and think another. 2. That they 
perpetually practised what they thus professed to be 
lawful And 3. That they practised it on the very 
point in question. 

I. Myjirst general reason was, that the ancient 
Sages held it lawful, for the public good, to say one 
thing when they thought another. 

We have described the times of Antiquity very 
ill, if it doth not appear, from what is here said, 
that each People had the most religious regard to 
the laws and constitutions of their country. What 
raised this veneration (natural to all men, accus 
tomed to a form of Policy) to such a height, was 
the popular prejudice in favour of their original. 
For, we have seen, the Founders pretended to 
receive their respective institutions from some 
PATRON GOD. At the time, they received the 
civil policy, they established the national religion; 
whose principal rites were objective to the patron 
God; which gave occasion to the PUBLIC PART OP 
RELIGION, explained above: whereby, the State, as 
such, became the subject of religious worship. 

This making the national Religion one of the 
most necessary and essential parts of civil govern 
ment, it would become a general raaiim, not only 



of mere politicians, but of all the best and wisest 
of those times, THAT EVERY ONE SHOULD CON 


see, by the behaviour of SOCRATES himself, how 
much men were possessed with the fitness and im 
portance of this rule. That excellent man, who 
made it the business of his life to search out, and 
expose the errors of human conduct, was most 
likely to detect the folly of this general prejudice. 
Yet when he comes to his defence before his judges; 
a defence, in which he was so scrupulous that he 
rejected what his friends would have added of con 
fessed utility to his service, because not strictly 
conformable to that truth, by which he squared the 
rectitude of his life ; when he comes, I say, to 
answer that part of the charge which accuses him 
of attempting to overturn the popular Divinities, 
he declares it, in the most solemn manner, as his 
opinion, that every one should adhere to the Reli 
gion of his country *. If it should still be sus 
pected, that this was only said, as it made best 
for his defence, let us follow him in his last moments, 
retired amidst his philosophic friends and followers; 
and there we shall find him still true to this great 
principle, in a circumstance which hath much 
distressed, and still distresses, modern critics to 


account for I mean the requesting his friends to 
sacrifice a cock to Jisculapius a piece of devotion, 

* See note [C] at the end of this Book, 


on some account or other, no matter what, due 
from him, according to the customs of his country, 
which he had neglected to perform *. 

But for all this, no one the least conversant in 
antiquity, will, I suppose, take it into his head that 
these Sages, because they held every one should 
adhere to the religion of his country, did not there 
fore see the gross errors of the national religions. 
Why then (it may be asked) was this strange vio 
lation of truth amongst men who employed all their 
studies to evince the importance of it, in general, 
to happiness ? 

The explanation of the riddle is easy : the 
GENIUS of their national religions, consisting rather 
in the performance of Rites of Worship than in the 
profession of Opinions, taught them to conclude, 


OF RELIGION. And if we attentively consider 
those religions (formed in subserviency to the State) 
as is occasionally explained in the several parts of 
this work, we shall not much wonder at their con 
clusion. And then not rightly distinguishing between 
particular and general UTILITY ; between that 
which ariseth from the illegitimate, and legitimate, 
administration of civil policy, they universally em 
braced this other false conclusion, THAT UTILITY 


* See note [D] at the end of this Book, 
f See the contrary proposition proved, towards the 
"beginning of the sixth lection of the third book. 


latter principle, a third necessarily arose, THAT IT 


THE PUBLIC GOOD. This all the ancient Philo 
sophers embraced : and Tully, on the authority of 
Plato, thinks it so clear, that he calls the doing 
otherwise NEFAS, a horrid wickedness. The famous 
Scaevola, the Roman Pontiff, frankly declares his 
opinion (as St. Austin tells us) " that Societies 
" should be deceived in religion *." The last men 
tioned author goes on : " Varro, speaking of 
* religions, says plainly, that there are many 
" TRUTHS which it is not EXPEDIENT the vulgar 
" should know ; and many FALSEHOODS which yet 
" it is useful for the people to receive as truths f." 
Upon which the Father remarks, " Here you have 
" the whole arcana of state ;." Nothing shews 
more strongly, that, not truth, but utility, ruled all, 
in Paganism, than the case Livy mentions, of what 
happened in the 573 d year of Rome. Some con 
cealed books of Numa were discovered ; which, on 
examination by the proper officers, being found to 

* Expedire sxistimat falli in religione civitates. De 
Civ. Dei, 1. iv. c. 10. 

t Varro de religionibus loquens, evidenter dicit, 
multa esse VERA, quse vulgo scire non sit TJTILE ; mul- 
taque, quae tametsi falsa sint, aliter existimare populum 

J Hie certe totum consilium prodidit SAPIENTJUM, 
per quos civitates & populi regerentur. 

c 2 

be injurious to the established Worship, were 
ordered, by Authority, to be burnt. Not one word is 
objected to them as containing any falsehood ; on 
the contrary, they were treated at their execution with 
the utmost reverence and respect ; and the fire was 
lighted by the sacred Ministers who served at the 
Altar. - As we go along, we shall find this maxim 
^universally received by the t heist ical Philosophers. 

I would only observe, that it appears from hence, 
that the principles, which induced the ancient Sages 
to deem it lawful to LIE or deceive for the public 

<*ood had no place in the nature, or in the con- 

i 1 ^ 

sonant propagation of the JEWISH and CHRISTIAN 

II. My second general reason was, tfiat the an 
cient Sages did actually say one thing when they 
thought another. This appears from that general 
practice in the Greek Philosophy, of a TWOFOLD 
a vulgar and a secret. The first openly taught 
to all; and the second confined to a select number., 
If this needed any other proof than what is given 
above, it might be supported by the very language 
used in speaking of the philosophers tit 

t* ^ ow w ^ at initiation or what mystery 
could there be in a sect that had nothing to hide 
from the Many, nothing to communicate to the 

* Marinus in vita Prodi. t Theorist, in Patr. ok 



Few ? And how, but by saying one thing and 
thinking another, could such a system be supported ? 
Nor were they different doctrines or subjects, but 
one and the same, handled differently; popularly 
and scientifically; viz. according to OPINION, or 
according to TRUTH *. 

PARMENIDES, we are told, had two doctrines 
concerning the nature of the universe ; one, in which 
lie taught that the world had been made, and would 
be destroyed*, another, in which he said, it was 
tmgenerated, and would never be dissolved; and 
that the first was his PUBLIC, and the second was 
his PRIVATE teaching f . 

That PLATO followed the same practice, we learn 
from his own words, who, in a letter to his friends, 
says, according to Dr. Bentley s translation +, " As 
u for the symbol or private note you desire, to know 
" my serious letters, and which contain my real 
(( sentiments from those that do not, know and 
" remember that GOD begins a seripus letter, and 
* GODS one that is otherwise ." Now had not 

* See note [E] at the end of this Book. 
t See note [F] at the end of this Book. 

J See the Doctor s Remarks on the Discourse of 
Free-thinking, Sec. 

TS yj(x8 T8 zcr^t T$ STTifoha;, o<raj rs ay 
inOTAH KAI O2A2 AN MH, ofcai ply <rs 
opus zvvosj, > wow uT^oVf^e Toy vsv* izoXhoi yocp 
oi Ketei/ovlsg ypatpsiv, ol$ % j>x$iov (pavegus Siwteur&w* r>5; (/.sv yap 

ol $s iH$ vtfov. Ep. xiii, 
c 3 Plato 

Plato used the exoteric doctrine, or delivered things 
not corresponding to the real sentiments of his mind, 
what occasion had his friends to desire this private 
mark or symbol to know when he was in earnest? 

GALEN says, " Plato declares that animals have 
{ constantly a soul, which serves to animate and 
" inform their bodies : as for stones, wood, and 
" what we commonly call the inanimate parts of 
" the creation; all these, he says, are quite destitute 
" of son!. And yet in his Timceus, where he 
explains his principles to his disciples and select 
friends, he there oives up the common notion, 
" declare:- that there is a soul rJIfFused through the 
" univu se, uhichis to actuate and pervade every 
" part of it. Now u c arc not to imagine that in 
" this c .7,vf: he u INCONSISTENT with himself, or 
" mainiaim contrary doctrines, any more than 
" Aristotle and Thtophrastus are to be charged 
. " Kith ccrtt n titctioH, when they delivered to their 
" Jji^-i^les t/ittr acrcatic doctrines, and to the 
principles of another nature*" And, 

avTGi; |Ui]/i%a f^sv an hsyev ra u&, TX$ Ai fa^ ^ 
ra &&, ? MxQpte Qaw TO. Qurct izavla, rwy 
sivcti <pww otidl orzv iv Tipou TVJV (pvffww 

oycig owa- 

avfyog tauTM roivotvlia i&yovi , u<r?ref aS* Apirolete$ ^ 
r, TO, (WEv foTg tzoXho7$ yeyfaQowv, ?#$ ^ axfoz<7i$ roi$ 
. Galeni De substantia naturalium facultatum 


in the communication of their acroatics or arcane 
opinions, the philosophers were as cautious as 
the teachers of the Mysteries were in theirs: and 
set about it with the same solemnity *. 

SYNESIUS, a thorough Platonist, and scarce 
more than half a Christian, who perfectly well 
understood all the intrigues of Pagan philosophy, 
delivers it as the plain consequence of the practice 
of the double doctrine, " that philosophy, when it 
" has attained the truth, allows the use of LIES 


After this, it will hardly need to be observed, 
That their external doctrine was, either the in 
vention of fables, or the propagation of what they 
held to be false : and their internal, the delivery 
of what they held, or discovered, to be the truth : j 
Yet because a remarkable passage of MACROBIUS 
will, together with the proof of this point, tend to 
the further illustration of the general subject we are 

upon, I shall give it at large. " Yet it is to be 

u understood (says this author) that the PHILO- 
" SOPHERS did not admit into every kind of dispu- 
<< tation, the false and fabulous, whether of their 

* And in the same form of words : 

So, Porphyry in Eusebius introduces his internal 

f NSj ai> pAoVop- In-o wv T<if cvw? T? 
. Epist. cv. 

c 4 " own 


c own invention or of public allowance * but only 
c in those works which treated of the SOUL, or of 


But when their discourse ventured to raise itself 
: to GOD, the origin and principle of all things, 
Him whom the Greeks call the GOOD and the 
1 FIRST CAUSE; or, to MIND J; which the Greeks 
< call NOTE, the offspring of the supreme God, 
1 which contains the original species of things 

: The text says, fabulosa vel licit a. The two last 
words are found in all the old editions : the more 
modern, for an obvious reason, dropt them. Gronovius 
:akes notice of the fraud, and restores them to their 
place; but, in order, finally, to degrade them, on a fair 
hearing : which he does, and puts velfcta in their place. 
But licita is, I believe, Macrobius s own word, and 
signifies, those theological fables allowed of by public 
authority. So thztfabulosa vet licita means, either suck 
fables as the philosophers invented, or such as they bor 
rowed from the popular belief. 

t The text says de atriis atheriisve potestatibus ; by 
which the author means, the first natural Gods of Gen- 
tilism, the heavenly bodies- as by- -vel de ceteris Di s , 
he means, the second class of false gods, dead mm 

admentem. By mind, the author here means 
the third hypostasis of the Platonic trinity, called rife 
or A0V-. For he takes his example, of what he says, 
of the conduct of the philosophers, from Plato ; and 
illustrates an observation of his own, in this place, by 
a passage in that philosopher. 

4 " called 


" called ideas; when these things, I say, MIND and 
" the SUPREME GOD, are the subject, then all fable 
" and falsehood is banished from the discourse. 
" ButNstill let us observe, that if, on these subjects, 
" their discourse leads them to inculcate doc- 
" trines, which not only exceed the power of 
" speech, but even human ideas and cogitations, 
" they then fly to allusions, similitudes, and figures. 
" But then again, on the other hand, when the 
" discourse is of the first kind, that is, concerning 
" the GODS and the HUMAN SOUL, where fable 
" and falsehood are employed, the philosophers 
" have had recourse to this method, not out of an 
" idle or fantastic humour, or to please their au- 
" dience by an agreeable amusement ; but because 
" they know that a naked and open exposition of 
" NATURE * is injurious to her ; who, as she hides 
" the knowledge of herself from gross and vulgar 
" conceptions, by the various covering and dis- 
" guise of Forms, so it is her pleasure, that her 
" priests, the Philosophers, should treat her secrets 
" in fable and allegory. And thus it is even in the 
" sacred Mysteries, where the secret is hid, even 

* quia sciunt iwimcam esse nature apertam nudamque 
expositionemqm sui. He alludes here to the danger of 
explaining openly the physical nature of the heavenly 
bodies, because it would unsettle one half of vulgar 
polytheism. So Anaxagoras was accused, and some say 
convicted, of a capital crime, for holding the sun to be 
a mere material mass of fire. 

" from 


" from the initiated, under figurative and sccnical 
" representations*. And while princes and magis- 
" trates only, with Wisdom j* for their guide, are 
" admitted to the naked truth J; the rest may be 
" well content with outside ornaments, which, at 
" the same time that they excite the beholder s 
" reverence and veneration , are contrived to 
" secure the dignity of the secret, by hiding it 
" under that cover from the knowledge of the 
" Vulgar ||." The first observation I shall make on 


* figurarwn cuniadis operiuntur, i. e. cuniculis 
jiguranm ad representationem aptis. It alludes to the 
allegorical shows of the mysteries represented in sub- 
terraneous places. 

-j- Sapicntia interpret?; Wisdom is here put into 
the office of hierophant of the mysteries, who instructed 
the initiated in the secret. 

J summatibus tantum viris veri arcani consciis. By 
these Macrobius means, heroes, princes, and legislators : 
alluding to their old practice of seeking initiation into, 
the greater mysteries. 

^ Contenti sint reliqui ad venerationem figuris, 8cc. is 
equivalent to (Contenti sint reliqui aptis venerationl 

|| Sciendum est tamen non in omnem disputationem 
philosoplios adrnittere fabulosa vel licita, sed his uti 
solent, vel cum de AN IMA, vel de aeriis atkeriis cepotest-f 
atibus, vel de ceteris Dis, loquuntur. Ceterum cum ad 
sitmmum et principem omnium Deum, qui apud Grsecos 
nxya&Vy qui ispurov amov nuncupatur, tractatus se audet 
attollerc j vel ad mentem quam Grseci vw appellant, 


this long passage is, that the SAME SUBJECT, 
namely, the nature of superior beings, was handled 
in a TWOFOLD manner; exoterlcally ; and then 
the discourse was of the national Gods: esoterically; 
and then it was of the first Came of all things. 
2. That the exoteric teaching admitted fable and 
falsehood, fabulosa vel Helta : the esoteric only what 
the teacher believed to be true, nihil fabulosum 
penitus. 3. That what was taught the Vulgar 
concerning the HUMAN SOUL was of the exoteric 
kind. 4. That the teaching of fables was one 
thing ; and the teaching in fables, or by figurative 
expressions, quite another : the first being the cover 
of error ; the second the vehicle of truth : that 


originates rerum species, quse ftecu dictsc sunt, continen- 
- tern, ex summo natam et profectam Deo : cum de his, 
inquain, loquuntur, summo Deo et mente nihil fabulosum 
penitus attingunt. Sed si quid de his assignare conantur, 
que non sermonem tantuminodo, sed cogitationem 
quoque humanam superant, ad similitudines et exempla 
confugiunt De Diis autem, ut dixi, ceteris, et de anima 
non frustra se, nee, ut oblectent,ad Fabulosa convertunt; 
sed quia sciunt inimicam esse naturae apertam nuclam- 
que expositionem sui: qure sicut vulgaribus hominum 
sensibus intellectual sui vario rerum tegmine operimen- 
toque subtraxit; ita a prudentibus arcana sua voluit 
per fabulosa tractari. Sic ipsa mytteria figurarmn 
cuniculis operiuiitur, ne vel hasc adeptis nuda rerum 
talium se natura praebeat : sed summatibus tantum 
viris, Sapientia interprete, veri arcani consciis ; con 
tend sint reliqui ad venerationem figuris defendentibus 
g vilitate secretum. In Somn. Scip. lib. i. c. a. 

the passions and prejudices of men made thejirst 
necessary; that the latter became unavoidable, 
through the weakness of human conception. This 
distinction was useful and seasonable, as the not 
attending to it, in those late times, in which Macro- 
jbius wrote, was the occasion of men s confounding 
these two ways of teaching with one another. 

From all this it appears, that a right conception 
of the nature of the DOUBLE DOCTRINE was 
deemed the TRUE KEY to the ancient Greek Phi 

On which account several writers of the lower 
ages composed discourses ON THE HIDDEN DOC 


which would have given much light to the subject, 
are not come down to us, we must be content to 
feel out our way to the original and end of the 
double doctrine as well as we are able. For it is 
not enough, that this method of teaching was gene 
ral amongst the Greek philosophers: to bring it to 
our point, we must prove it was invented for the good 
of Society. 

The original is little understood. It hath been 
generally supposed owing either to a barbarous love 
of mystery ; or a base disposition to deceive. 
Toland, who made it the study of a wretched life, 
to shed his venom on every thing that was great and 

* Zacynthus scripsit to, aTropf-nIa, TWJ QitotroQieq, refer 
rente Laertio, Porphyrius toSv QtoHrfyuv ?a ano^cc, 
teste Eunapio in ejus vita. 


respectable, sometimes * supposes this double doc 
trine the issue of craft and roguery; at other times, 
a grave and wise provision , against the bigotry and ; 
superstition of the vulgar. And a different sort of 
man, the celebrated Fontenelle, when lie calls 
mystery, which is the consequence of the double 
doctrine, the apanage of barbarity, does as little 
justice to Antiquity. 

I shall shew first, that those, from whom the 
Greeks borrowed this method of philosophising, 
invented it for the service of Society. And secondly \ 
that those who borrowed it, employed it for that 
purpose; however it might at length degenerate into 
craft and folly t- 

First, then, it is confessed by the Greeks them 
selves, that all their learning and wisdom came from 
Egypt; fetched from thence either immediately by 
their own Philosophers, or brought round to- them by 
the Eastern Sages, by the way of Asia. In this, the 
Greeks are unanimous. Now Herodotus, Diqdorus- 
Siculus, Strabo, Plutarch, all testify that the Egyp 
tian priests, with whom the learning of the place 
resided, had a TWOFOLD PHILOSOPHY, the one 
hidden and sacred, the other open and vulgar J. 

* See his Tetradymua, in what he calls, Of tW 
Exoteric and Esoteric Philosophy. 

f See note [G] at the end of this Book. 

o; iVpBf ATO AoroTS ^ofe & > *& \*fa ? 

o tie epQaAf % ?$^$SK Hfgi 1^. ^ Q<rif>. 


To know their end in this way of teaching, we 
must consider their character. yElian tells us *, 
that in the most early times, the Priests, amongst 
the Egyptians, were Judges and Magistrates. So 
that the care of the People must needs be their 
chief concern under both titles : and as well what 
they divulged as what they concealed, must be 
equally for the sake of Society. Accordingly we 
find them to have been the first who taught an in 
tercourse with the Gods, a future state of rewards 
and punishments, and initiation into MYSTERIES, 
instituted for the support of that belief: The 
aVcpprfl^ of which was the doctrine of the UNITY. 

Plutarch assures us of this truth, where he tells 
us, that it was chiefly to their Kings and Magistrates, 
to whom the SECRET doctrines of the College were 
revealed. " The Kings were chosen (says he) 
" either out of the priesthood, or the soldiery : 
" as this order for their valour, and that for their 
" wisdom, were had in honour and reverence. But 
" when one was chosen out of the soldiery, he was 
" forthwith had to the college of the Priests, and 
" instructed in their secret philosophy; which in- 
" volves many things in fables and allegories, where 
" the face of truth is seen, indeed ; but clouded and 

" obscured |-" 

* Var. Hist. 1. xiv. c. 34. 

f* O? 31 Pa<rite~s ayr&eiwuvlo (Av IK ruv tyetav vi TV (tax ipuvy 
TS /WEV di avtyiav, TS tie 5ia cropiav, yv<; a%iu(A&, y^ TIJMIV 

sv&v{ tyivtlo ruv 


And in the same manner, and with the same view, 
the MAGI of Persia, the DRUIDS of Gaul, and the 
BRACHMANS of India, the genuine offspring of the 
Egyptian priests, and who, like them, shared in the 
administration of the state, had all their external 
and internal doctrines *. 

What hath misled both ancient and modern 
writers to think the double doctrine to be only a 
barbarous and selfish craft of keeping up the re 
putation of the teacher, was a. prevailing opinion, 
that moraljigd natural truths were concealed under 
the ancient fables of the Gods and Heroes. For 
then, these fables must have been invented by the 
ancient Sages ; and invented for the sake of explain 
ing them, and nothing more. So the learned 
Master of the Charter-house, taking it for granted 
that the Sages were the inventors of the ancient 
mythology, concludes that one of these two things 
was the original of the double doctrine : : It arose 
" either from the genius of Antiquity, especially of 
" the Orientalists; or else from the affectation of 
" making important things, difficult, and not easily 
" understood at first sight f." But that way of 



;. ^ OS. Steph. ed. 
* Orig. cont. Celsurn, 1. i. 

f Sive id factum fuerit pro ingenio priscornm honu- 
num, maxime orientalium ; sive ut ea, quro pulclu-a 
erant, difficilia redderent, neque priijiQ ifttuitii 
Archseol. FUU. L i, c, 3. 

allegorizing the ancient fables was the invention of 
the later Greek philosophers. The old Pagan mytho 
logy was only the corruption of historical tradition; 
and consequently arose from the People; whose 

follies and prejudices occasion the double doctrine 


to be employed for their service. But what it was 
that facilitated its use, we shall see hereafter, when 
we come, in the fourth book, to speak of the Egyp 

Secondly, We say, the Greeks, who borrowed 
this method of the double doctrine, employed it, 
like the Egyptians, who invented it, TO THE USE OF 

1 . The first who went out of Greece to learri 
Egyptian wisdom, were the LEGISLATORS : Or such 
as, projecting to reduce the scattered tribes, which 
then overran Greece, into civil Society, travelled 
thither to learn the ART of LAWGIVING, from a 
nation ,f be most celebrated for that knowledge. 
Of these, were Orpheus, Rhadamarithus, Minos, 
Lycaon, Triptolemus, and others; who concerned 
themselves with nothing of the Egyptian wisdom, 
but their public morals or Polities , and received the 
double doctrine along with it; as appears from their 
instituting the MYSTERIES (where this doctrine, was 
practised) in their several civil establishments. 

2. The next sort of men who went from Greece 
to Egypt for instruction (though the intercourse of 
the Lawgivers with Egypt was not interrupted, but 



continued clown to the times of Draco, Lycurgus, 
and Solon) were the NATURALISTS; who, through 
out their whole course, bore the name of SOPHISTS. 
For now Greece being advanced from a savage and 
barbarous state, to one of civil Policy, the inha 
bitants, in consequence of the cultivation of the arts 
of life, began to refine and speculate. But physics 
and mathematics wholly ingrossed the early sophists, 
such as Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Xeno-* 
phanes, Parrrfenides, and Leucippus. For as these 
studies were managed systematically and fitted to 
the vain and curious temper of that people, this, as 
the post of honour, would be first seized upon. 
Besides, Greece being at this lime over-run with 
petty TYRANTS *, the descendants of their ancient 
HEROEs,~IFwas found unsafe to turn their specu 
lations upon morals ; in which politics were con 
tained, and made so eminent a part. All then that 
this second class of Adventurers learnt of the 
KNOWLEDGE : and as, in the Cultivation of this 
there was little occasion for, so their character of 
mere Naturalists made them have less regard to, the 
double doctrine. And in effect, we find little men 
tion of it amongst the first Greek Sophists, who 
busied themselves only in these enquiries. 

Je yftogtoK Ty$ Etoad* x ruv 

sv Toiiq woAw Kc^iravloy TUV <57^oc r oSwv (ASI&VUV 
Hist. 1. i 

VOL, III. D 3. The 


3. The last sort of people, who went to Egypt 
for instruction, were the PHILOSOPHERS, properly 
so called. A character exactly compounded of the 
two preceding, the Lawgiver and the Naturalist. 
For when now, after various struggles, and revolu 
tions, the Grecian States had asserted, or regained 
their liberties, MORALS, public and private, would 
become the subject most in fashion. From this 
time, the Grecian Sages became violently given to 
Legislation, and were actually employed in making 
laws for the several emerging Common-wealths : 
Hence Aristotle observed, that " the best Law- 
" givers in ancient Greece, were amongst the 
" middle rank of men." The first (as well as most 
famous) of this class, and who gave philosophy its 
name and character, was PYTHAGORAS. He, and 
Flato, with others, travelled into Egypt, like their 
predecessors. But now having joined in one, the 
t\vo different studies of Politics and Philosophy, a 
slight tincture of Egyptian instruction would not 
serve their purpose : to complete their Character, 
there was a necessity of being thoroughly imbued 
with the most hidden wisdom of Egypt. Accord 
ingly, the Ancients tell us *, of their long abode 
there ; their hard condition of admittance into the 
sacred Colleges ; and their bringing away with then* 
all the secret science of the priesthood. The result 
of all was, and it is worth our observation, that, 

* Porph. devita Pythag. Strabo de Platonc, 1. xvii. 

Gcogr. Origin. Comm. in Ep. ad. llom. c. iii. 

4 iron* 


from this time, the Greek Sophists (now called 
Philosophers) began to cultivate the belief of a 
future state of rewards and punishments, and, at 
the very same time, the practice of the double doc 
trine : which two principles were the distinguishing 
badges of their Character. 

Thus, by an intimate acquaintance with the 
Egyptian priesthood, the Greeks, at length, got 
amongst themselves a new species of SAGES, whose 
character much resembled that of their masters. 
But with this difference, that amongst the Egyptian 
Priests (and so amongst the Magi, the Brachmans, 
and the Druids) Philosophy was an appendix to 
Legislation ; while amongst the Greeks, Legislation 
was but the appendix to Philosophy. For philo 
sophy was the jm acquest of the Greek Sages ; 
and legislation, of the Egyptian. There was yet 
another difference ; which was, that, in the Greek 
Sophist, the two characters of LEGISLATOR and l_ ( 
PHILOSOPHER were always kept distinct, and con 
ducted on the contrary principles : whereas in the 
Egyptian Priest, they were incorporated, and went 
together. So th at in Greece, the hidden doctrine of 
the Mysteries, and the aVop pVa of the Schools, 
though sometimes founded by one and the same 
person, as by Pythagoras, were two very different 
things ; but in Egypt, still one and the same. 

Greece was now well settled in popular Com* 
munities ; and yet this legislating humour still con 
tinued. And when the Philosophers had no more 

D 3 work, 

work, they still kept on the trade ; and from 
practical, became speculative Lawgivers. This gave 
birth to a deluge of visionary Republics, as appears 
from the titles of their works preserved by Diogenes 
Laertius ; where, one is always as sure to find a 
treatise De legibus., or De republica, as a treatise, 
De deo, De anima, or De mundo. 

But of all the sects, the Pythagoreans and Pla- 
tonists continued longest in this humour. The 
Academics and Stoics, indulging to the disputatious 
genius of the Greek philosophy, struck out into a 
new road ; and began to cultivate the last great 
branch of philosophy, LOGIC; especially the Stoics, 
who, from their great attachment to it, were sur- 
named Dialectici. 

The reader hath here a short view of the pro 
gress of the GREEK PHILOSOPHY ; which Plato 
aptly divided into PHYSICS, MORALS, and LOGIC*. 
We have shewn that this was the order of their 
birth : the study of physics and mathematics began 
while Greece groaned under its petty tyrants : 
morals public and private arose with their civil 
liberties: and logic, when they had contracted a 
habit of disputation and refinement. 

But when now the liberties of Greece began to 
be again shaken by Tyrants of greater form arid 
power, and every nobler province of Science was 

TiKON. Diog. Laert. .Prorcm. 18, 


already possessed and occupied by the Sects above 
mentioned ; some ambitious men, as EPICURUS, 
attempted to revive the splendor of ancient PHYSICS 
by an exclusive cultivation of them ; rejecting 
LOGIC, and all the public part of MORALS, Politics 
and Legislation : and, with them, in consequence, 
(which deserves our notice) the use of the DOUBLE 
DOCTRINE *, as of no service in this reform. *An 
evident proof of its having been employed only for 
the sake of Society : for were it, as Toland and 
his fellows pretend, for tkeirjywn, it had found its 
use chiefly in Physics ; because the celestial bodies 
being amongst the popular Gods, enquiries into 
their physical essence would hardly escape the 
public odium : Plutarch tells us how heavily it fell 
both on Protagoras and Ariaxagoras f. Notwith 
standing this, the first and the last of the Sophists, 

* Clemens Alex, indeed (Strom. 5.) says, that " the 
" Epicureans bragged they had their secrets which it 
" was not lawful to divulge;", but this was only arro 
gating to themselves a mark of Philosophy, which 
those, to whom it really belonged, had made venerable. 

f- O ya$ TST^WT^- <ra<perofiov ye vsavlwv 
Kottavhtppfiv > PKIXS hoyw si$ y$a<p 
ST ai/ros w watafoj, STE o AoV^H v3b|-, ato otTrop 

srt, y^ $i oXiyuv, ^ /CCET ewAaC e/aj Ttvoj ri islrms {3adi$cw. a yao 
weix,ovlo raj <pu<rix%$ Xy {Ailsugoteaxag TOTE KCX^^EVH^ wj /j airici$ 
faoyxs xj $vvdfti$ a7rpQvoY)TU$ ^ Kulmo^KCiff^a wafa dicclplGGvlag 
TO SsTov XX xj Upulctyoga; tipvye ^ Ava&yogav elpxflevlat po^g 
. Vit. Nicise. 

D 3 who 


who dealt only in Physics, equally rejected the 
double doctrine. While on the other hand, the legis 
lating philosophers employed this very doctrine 
even in natural enquiries. We are told, that Pytha- 
goras s popular account of earthquakes was, that 
they were occasioned by a synod of ghosts assem 
bled under ground *. But Jamblicus t informs 
us, that he sometimes predicted earthquakes by the 
taste of well-water J. 

It appears then, on the whole, that the double 
doctrine was used for the sake of Society ; their high 
notions of which made them conclude the practice 
not only to be innocent, but laudable : whereas, 
were the motive either love of mystery^ of fraud, 
or of themselves, it cannot be reconciled to any 
of their several systems of private morals. 

III. My third general reason was, that the 
ancient Sages seemed to practise the DOUBLE DOC 
TRINE, in the point in question. I have observed, 
that those Sects which joined legislation to philo 
sophy, as the Pythagoreans, Platonists, Peripatetics, 
and Stoics, always professed the belief of a future 
state of rewards and punishments : while those, 
who simply philosophised, as the Cyreniac, the 
Cynic, and the Democritic, publicly professed the 

* ^Elian. Var. Hist. 1. iv. c. 17. 

t Jamblicus Vit. Pythag. 1. i.e. 23. 

J See note [H] at the end of this Book. 



contrary. And just as those of the legislating class 
were more or less in the practice of that art, so 
were they more or less in the profession of a future 
state: as on the one hand, the Pythagoric and 
Platonic ; and on the other, the Peripatetic and 
Stoic. Nay in one and the same sect (as the Peri 
patetic, or the Stoic), when a follower of it studied 
legislation, he professed this belief; when he con 
fined himself to private morals, or abstract specu 
lations, he rejected it. Thus Zeno, amongst the 
Stoics, was a great assertor of it ; while Epictetus 
openly denied it. And Seneca, who was but a 
mongrel, seems willing to expose the whole mystery. 
For in those parts of his writings, where he 
strictly philosophises, he denies a future state ; and 
in those, where he acts the preacher or politician, lie 
maintains it ; and having in this character, said what 
he thought fit in its behalf, is not ashamed to add : 
" Hrec autem omnia ad MORES spectant, itaque 
" suo loco posita sunt; at qua? a DIALECTICS 
" contra hanc opinionem dicuntur, segreganda 
" fuerunt: et ideo seposita sunt*." As much as 
to say, the doctrine was preached up as useful to 
Society, but intenable by reason. One might push 
this observation from sects to particulars. So 
Xenophori and Isocrates, who concerned themselves 
much in the public, declared for it; and Hippocrates 
and Galen, who confined themselves to natural 
Studies, are inclined to be against it. 

* Ep. 103, 

D 4 This 


This totally enervates what might be urged in 
support of the common opinion, from those many 
professions in the writings of the Theistical philo 
sophers, in favour of a future state of rewards and 
punishment; as it shews that those professions only 
made part of the EXTERNAL or popular doctrines 
of such sects *. It may likewise help to explain 
and reconcile an infinite number of discordances in 
their works in general; and more especially on this 
point, which are commonly, though I think falsely, 
ascribed to their inconstancy. How endless have 
been the disputes amongst the learned, since the 
revival of letters, about what Plato, Aristotle, and 
the Stoics held pf the Soul ! But it was not the 
Moderns only who found themselves at a loss; 
sometimes the Ancients themselves were embar 
rassed. Plutarch complains heavily of the Repug 
nances of the Stoics : and in his tract so intitled, 
accuses Chrysippus, now, for laughing at the 
doctrine of a future state of rewards and punish 
ments, as a Mormo, fit only to frighten women and 
children; and now again, for affirming seriously, 
that, let men laugh as they pleased, the thing was a 
sober Jruth, 

Yet neither could a truth so obvious, nor the notice 
here given of it, prevent the numerous writers against 
this book from perpetually urging, one from another, 
those professions in the EXOTERIC writings of the Phi 
losophers, as a confutation of what is here delivered 
Concerning their REAL SENTIMENTS. 

IV. My 


IV. My fourth general reason is gathered from 
the opinions which Antiquity itself seems to have had 
of its philosophers on this point. The gravest writers 
(as we see in part, by the quotations above, from 
Timaeus, Polybius, and Strabo) are full of apologies 
for the national Religions; that is, for what was 
taught in them, concerning a Providence here, and 
especially concerning the doctrine of a future state 
of rewards and punishments, hereafter. They pre^ 
tend that these things were necessary to keep the 
People in awe ; but frankly own, that were Society 
composed all of wise men, THE RELIGION OF THI 
PHILOSOPHERS, which enforces morality by con 
siderations drawn from the excellence of virtue, the 
dignity of our nature, and the perfection of the 
human soul, would be a fitter and more excellent 
way to good. Now, the national Religions, as they 
taught a doctrine of a future state, being here op* 
posed to the Religion of the philosophers, which jij 
employed other motives, I conclude, that, in the 
opinion of these apologists, the Philosophers did 

not really believe this doctrine, 

V. My last general argument against the common 
opinion, is collected from an extraordinary cir 
cumstance in the Roman history. C^SAR, in his 
speech to the senate, to dissuade them from pu- 
pishing the followers of Catiline with death, argues, 
" that death was no evil, as they, who inflicted it for 
" a punishment, imagined, and intended it should 

" be 

" be made." And thereon takes occasion, with a 
licentiousness till then unknown to that august As 
sembly, to explain and inforce the avowed principles 
of Epicurus (of whose sect he was) concerning the 
mortality of the soul *. Now when CATO and 
CICERO, who urged the death of the conspirators, 
come to reply to his argument for lenity; instead of 
opposing the principles of that philosophy by the 
avowed principles of a better, they content them 
selves with only saying, that " the doctrine of a 
" future state of rewards and punishments was 
" delivered clown to them from their ancestors f." 
From this cold manner of evading the argument, by 
retiring under the opinion gf their Forefathers, I 
conclude, that these two great patriots were con 
scious that the real opinion of ancient philosophy 
would not support them: for nothing was more 
illogical than their reply, it being evidently, that 
Authority of their Ancestors, which Caesar op 
posed with the principles of the Greek philosophy. 
Here then was a fair challenge to a philosophic 
enquiry; and can we believe, that Cicero and Cato 
would have been less favourably heard, while they 
defended the doctrine of a future state on the prin- 

* De pcena, possum equidem dicere id quod res 
hubet; in luctu atque miscriis, mortem acrumnarum 
requiem, non cruciatum esse; earn cuncta mortalium 
mala dissolvere; ultra neque curse, neque gaudio locum 
esse. Caesar apud. Sail, cle Bell. Catilin. 

f See note [I] at the end of this Book. 


ciples of Plato and Zeno, so agreeable to the opi 
nions of their Ancestors, than Caesar was in over 
throwing it on the system of Epicurus ? Or was it 
of small importance to the State, that an opinion, 
which JTullj, in the words below, tells us was 
established by their Ancestors for the service of So 
ciety, should be shewn to be conformable to the 
conclusions of the most creditable Philosophy? 
Yet, for all this, instead of attempting to prove 
Caesar a bad philosopher, they content themselves 
with only shewing him to be a bad citizen. We 
must needs conclude then, that these two learned 
men were sufficiently apprized, that the doctrine of 
their Ancestors was unsupported by the real opinion 
of any Greek sect of Philosophy; whose popular 
profession of it would have been to no purpose to 
have urged against Caesar, and such of the Senate 
as were instructed in these matters ; because the 
practice of the double doctrine, and the part to 
which this point belonged, was a thing well known 
to them. 

It may be true, that as to Cato, who was a rigid 
Stoic, this observation on his conduct will conclude 
only against one sect; but it will conclude very 
strongly : for Cato was so far from thinking that the 
principles of that philosophy should not be brought 
into the conclusions of State, where it could be 
done with any advantage, that he was even for 
having public measures regulated on the standard 
of their paradoxes , for which he is agreeably rallied 


by Cicero in his oration for Mura?na. He could 
not then, \ve must think, have neglected so fair an 
opportunity of employing his beloved philosophy 
upon Caesar s challenge, would it have served his 
purpose in any reasonable degree. 

But though Cato s case only includes the Stoics; 
yet Cicero s, who made use indifferently of the 
principles of any sect to confute the rest, includes 
them all. It will be said perhaps, that the reason 
why he declined replying on any philosophic prin 
ciple, was because he thought the opinion of their 
Ancestors the strongest argument of all; having so 
declared it, in a more evident point; the very being 
cfa God itself: In QUOD, MAXIMUM EST MA JORUM 
NOSTRORUM SAPIENTIA, qui sacra, qui cere- 
monias *, &c. But it is to be observed, that this 
was spoken to the People, and recommended to 
them as an argument they might best confide in; 
and therefore urged with Tully s usual prudence, 
who always suited his arguments to his auditors; 
while the words under question were addressed to 
an audience of Nobles, who had, at that time, as 
great an affectation to philosophise as Cicero him 
self. Hear what he says in his oration for Murana : 
Et quoniarn non est nobis hcec oratio habenda aut 
cum IMPERITA MULTITUDINE, aut in aliquo con- 
ventu agrestium, audacius paulo de STUDIIS HUMA- 
sunt, disputabo f. 

* Oral, pro Milono f Sect. 29. 




HAVING premised thus much, to clear the 
way, and abate men s prejudices against a new 
opinion, I come to a more particular enquiry con- 
cerning each of those SECTS which have been 
supposed to BELIEVE the doctrine of a future state 
of rewards and punishments. 

The ancient Greek philosophy may be all ranged 
in the ELEATIC, the ITALIC, and the IONIC lines. 
The Eleatic line was wholly composed of Atheists 
of different kinds-; as the Democritic, the Pyrr- 
honian, the Epicurean, Sec. so these come not into 
the account. All in the Italic line derive them 
selves from PYTHAGORAS, and swear in his name. 
All in the Ionic, till SOCRATES, busied themselves 
only in Physics, and are therefore likewise excluded. 
HE was the first who brought philosophy out of 
the clouds, to a clearer contemplation of HUMAN 
NATURE; and founded the Socratic school, whose 
subdivisions were the PLATONIC or OLD ACA 
and the NEW ACADEMY. 

As to Socrates, Cicero gives this character of him, 
that He was the first who called philosophy from 
heaven, to place it in cities, and introduce it into 
private houses *, i. e. to teach public and private. 


* Primus Philosophiam devocavit e coelo, et in 
itt bibus collocavit, et ia domos etiam introduxit. Tuscul. 


morals. But we must not suppose, that Cicero 
simply meant, as the words seem to imply, that 
Socrates was the frst of the philosophers, who 
studied morals-, this being evidently false; for the 
Pythagoric school had, for a long time before, made 
morals its principal concern. He must therefore 
mean (as the quotation below partly implies) that 
HE was the jirst who called off philosophy from a 
contemplation of nature, to fix it ENTIRELY upon 
morals. Which was so true, that Socrates was not 
only the j/\tf, but the last of the Philosophers who 
made this separation; having here no followers, 
unless we reckon Xenophon; who upbraids Plato, 
the immediate successor of his school,, for forsaking 
his master s confined scheme, and imitating the 
common practice of -the philosophers in their pur 
suit of general knowledge; he being, as the same 
Cicero observes, varius et multiplex et copiosus. 

^However, This, which Socrates attempted in 
Philosophy, was a very extraordinary project: and, 
to support its credit, he brought in those principles 

Of DOUBT and UNCERTAINTY, which SO1716 of his 

pretended followers very much abused: Tor while 


st. hb. v.-And again, Acad. 1. i. Socrates mihi 
Videtur, id quod constat inter omnes, primus a r,ebus 
oocultis, et ab ipsa natura involute, in quibus omnes ante 

im philosophi occupati fuerunt, evocavisse ~Philoso. 
pliiam, et ad vitam communem adduxisse, ut de vir- 
tutibus et vitiis, omninoque de bonis rebus & ma lig 
quasreret; coeleatia autem vel procul esse a nostra 

gnmonc censcret, vel, si maxime cognita essent, nihil 
tamen ad bene vivendum conferre. 

he restrained those principles of doubt to natural 
things, whose study he rejected; they extended 
them to every thing that was the subject of philo 
sophical inquiry. This we presume was Socrates s 
true character: who thus confining his searches, 
was the ( bnly_pne)of all the ancient Greek philo 
sophers (and it deserves our notice) who really 
believed the doctrine of a future state of rewards 
and punishments. How it happened that lie was 
so singularly right, will be considered hereafter, 
when we bring his case to illustrate, and to confirm 
the general position here advanced. 

From Socrates, as we said, came the middle and 
New Academy, as well as the Old, or Platonic. 
Arcesilaus was the founder of the Middle; and 
Carneades of the New. Between the principles 
of these two there was no real difference, as Cicero 
tells us ; and we may take his word ; but both, I 
will venture to affirm, were as real Sceptics, as the 
Pyrrhonisms themselves: I mean in their principles 
of philosophising, though not in the professed con- 
elusions each pretended to draw from those princi 
ples. For the Academics as well as Tyrrhenians 
agreed in this, " That nothing could be known ; 
" and that, without interfering with any sentiments 
" of their own, every thing was to be disputed/ 
Heace the Tyrrhenians concluded, " that nothing 
" was ever to be assented to, but the mind to be 
" kept in an eternal suspense :" The Academics, 
on the contrary, held, " that the PROBABLE, when 
<c found, was to be assented to ; but, till then, they 

" we rfc 

were to go on with the Pyrrhonians, questioning, 
1 disputing, and opposing every thing." And 
here lay the jest : they continued to do so, through 
out the whole period of their existence, without 
ever finding the probable in any thing ; except, in 
what was necessary to supply them with arms for 
disputing against every thing. It is true, this was 
a contradiction in their scheme : but Scepticism is 
unavoidably destructive of itself. The mischief 
was, that their allowing the probable thus far, made 
many, both ancients and moderns, think them uni 
form in their concessions : In the mean time they 
gave good words, and talked perpetually of their 
vermmile and probabile, amidst a situation of abso 
lute darkness, and scepticism ; like Sancho Pancha, 
of his island on the Terra Firma. This was 
Lucian s opinion of the Academics ; and no man 
knew them better ; speaking of the happy island, 
in his true history, and telling us in what manner it 
Was stocked with the several Sects of Greek phi 
losophy; when he comes to the Academics he 
observes with much humour, that though they were 
in as good a disposition to come as any of the rest, 
they still keep aloof in the Confines, and would 
never venture to set foot upon the Island. For here 
truly they stuck ; they were not yet satisfied whether 
it was an Island or not *, 

TI$ TQiavw Ir/y. Ver, Hist. L ii. 



This I take to be the true key to the intrigues 
of the ACADEMY ; of which famous sect m-my 
have been betrayed into a better opinion than it 
deserved. If any doubt of this, the acconnt which 
Cicero himself gives of them, will satisfy him. 
He, who knew them best, and who in good earnest 
espoused only the more reasonable part of their 
conduct, tells us, that they held nothing could be 
known, or so much as perceived: Nihil cognosci, 
nihil percipi, nihil sciri posse dixerunt Opinio- 
nibus & INSTITUTTS omnia teneri; nihil VERITATI 
relinqui : deinceps omnia tenebris circumfusa esse 
dixerunt. Itaque Arcesilaus negabat esse quidquam 
quod sciri posset, ne illud quidem ipsum * : That 
every thing was to be disputed ; and that the pro 
bable was not a thing to engage their assents, or sway 
their judgments, but to enforce their reasonings, 
Carneades vero multo uberius iisdem de rebus 
loquebatur : non quo aperiret sententiam suam 
(hie enim mos erat pat rim Academics AD VERSA HI 
SEMPER OMNIBUS in disputando) sed f, &c. Pro- 
prium sit Academic judicium suum nullum inter- 
ponere, ea probare quae simillima veri videantur ; 
conferre causas, & quid in quamque sententiam 
dici possit expromere, null a adhibita sua auctoritate, 
judicium audientium relinquere integrum & libe- 
rum : That, though they pretended their end was 
to find the probable, yet, like the Pyrrhcnians, 

* Acad, Quaest. 1. i, c. 12, 13. 

t De Orat. lib. i. e, 18, J De Divin. lib. ii, sub fin. 
VOL, III, E they 


they held their mind in an eternal suspense, and 
continued going on disputing against every thing, 
without ever finding the pwbabk to determine their 
j udgments, O Academiam volaticam & sui similem, 
modohucmodoilluc* 5 says the man whose business 
it was to shew-only its fair side. And indeed how 
could it be otherwise, when, as he himself tells us, 
in the case of the same Arces ilms, they endeavour 
ed to prove, that the moment, or weight of evidence, 
on each side the question, was exactly equal 
Iluic rationij quod erat consentaneum, faciebat, ut 
eontra omnium sententlas dies jam plerosque dedu- 
ceret: [diceret] ut cum in eadem re paria cont ranis 
in partibus momenta ratlonum itrvenirentur, facilius 
ah utraque parte adsentio sustineretur. This they 
held to be the case, even in the most important 
subjects, such as the SOUL, And in the most in 
teresting questions concerning it, as whether it was. 
in its nature, MORTAL or IMMORTAL. Quod 
intelligi quale sit vi& potest: et quicquid est, mortaie 
sit, an aeternian r Nam utraque in parte niulta 
dieuntur. Ilorum aliquid vf&tro sapienti certurn 
videtur: nostro ne quid maxime quidcm probabils 
git, occurrit : ita sunt in plerisque contrariaruna rati- 
oniim PA ETA MOMENTA f. 

Thus it appears, that the sect was thoroughly 
sceptical J; And Sextus Enipiricus, a master of 

# Ep, ad Alt. 1. 13. 

f note !"Kj at the end of ibis Book, 

See note [L] at the end of this Book. 



this argument, says no less : who, though he denies 
the Academics and Pyrrhoniam to be exactly the 
same, as some ancients affirmed, because, though 
both agreed that truth was not to be found, yet the 
Academics held there was a difference in those 
things which pretended to it (the mystery of which 
has been explained above) yet owns that Arcesilaus 
and Pyrrho had one common philosophy *. Origen, 
or the author of the fragment that goes under his 
name, seems to have transcribed the opinion of 
those whom Sextus hints at. " But another sect 
" of philosophers (says he) was called the Academic^ 
" because they held their disputations in the Aca- 
" demy. Pyrrho was the head and founder of 

* Qavi fjuvlot TIVS; on Y\ AxaOYifAaiw pthOffoQia rj avrn ere 
ni (THZ-^ii. O t asv TI Apxe<riha@- 9 ov ry$ psws Axcx^nfjLta^ 
SIVM irporaTw ?t) fyxnyw, mavo poi from roT$ Iluppuvsioig 
^oyWfj 00$ (MOV tivat cr^^^cv tnv X&T aurcv otfayYiv x^ r>iv 
Hypot. Pyrh. lib. i. c. 33. Ageiiius ; too, 
assures us, that the difference between the two sects 
amounted to just nothing. Vetus autem quaestio et a 
multis scriptoribus Graecis tractata est, in quid et quan 
tum Pyr-rhonios et Academicos Philosophos intersit. 
Utrique enim SKETITIKOI, Ip^xs), airotfliKoi, dicuntur, 
quoniam utrique nihil affirmant, nihilque comprehendi 
putant - difFerre tamen inter sese vel maxime prop* 
terea existimati sunt. Academici quidem ipsum illud 
iiihil posse comprehendi, quasi comprehendunt, et nihil 
posse decerni quasi decernunt : Pyrrhonii ne id quidem 
ullo pacto videri verum dicunt, quod nihil esse verum 
videtur. 1. ii. c, 5. 

2 " these; 

u these; from whom they were called PyrrfxKiians. 
u He first of all brought in the AxaJaAs J*a, or in- 
** compreheijsibility, as an instrument to enable 
* ti&m to dispute on footii sides the question, with- 
" out proving or decidmg any thing *.." 

But now a difficulty arises which wift require 
some explanation- We have represented the Aca~ 
dbwjr as entirely sceptical: We have represented 
Socrates a dogmatist; and yet on his sole authority, 
as we are assured by Tully, did this sect hold its 
principles of Imomng nothing and disputing all 
The true solution seems to be this: 

I* SOCRATES; to deter his hearers from all studies 
but those of mora/tity, was perpetually representing 
the obscurity, in which ail other lay involved: not 
only affirming that he knew nothing of them, but 
that ftothing could be known; while, in Mwals, lie 
was a dogmatist, as appears largely by Xenophon, 
,nd the less fabulous parts of Plato. But Arcesilaus 
and Carneades took him at his word, when he said 
he knew Bathing; and extended that principle of 
ncertainty ad omne &cibile* 

2. Again, the adversaries, with whom Socrates 
had to deal, ia his project of discrediting natural 

<# TO 
W *Axa3/<ct a 10,$ 



knowledge, and of recommending tke stwdy of w?0~ 
nrtfry, were the SOPHISTS properly so catted; a race 
of men, whoy by their eloquence and fallacies, bad 
long kept up the credit of Physics, and much vitiated 
the purity of Month : And These being the Grades 
of science at that time in Athens, it became the 
modesty and humility of his pretensions,, to attack 
them covertly, arid rather as an enquirer than a 
teacher. This produced the way of disputing by 
Interrogation; from the inventor, called the Scwatic: 
And as this could not be carried on but under a 
professed admiration of thek wisdom, and acqvil- 
escence in their decisions, it gave birth to tk? famous 
Attie Irony*. Hence it appears, his. mettiod of 
confutation must begin in do*ibt; be carried o& ia 
turning their own anas- agaaasfc ttei% saoi^ exad la 
tidvancwig nothing of km &m^ 

Now Arcesilaus and Caraeades haYi^, as we 
say, extravagantly extended |he Soeratic principle 
of knowing npthmg ; easily mistook tiiis. other,, f 
advancing notkirtg of Ms mm, when di&putiBg with 
tlie Sophists; as a necessajy conseqi^ecice of the 
former ; and so made that a general rule for their 
school, which, in their master, was only ^n ccca- 
sional and confined practice^ 

* Soprates autem cte se ipse ctetraliens IB 
plus tribuebat ii\ quos volebat refeilere. Ita ema 
afmd clieeret atque sentiret, libeitter rtti soRtws est ea 
dissimulatione, quaia Grseci iom? vocajfxtv 
\ u. c, 5. 


On these two mistaken principles was the New 
Academy erected. i. Omnia latere in occulto, 
nee esse quidqtiam, quod cerni aut intelligi possit. 
2. Quibus de causis nihil oportere neque pro- 
fiteri, neque affirm are quemquam, neque assertione 
approbare *. 

They of the OLD ACADEMY f, who came first 
after Socrates, did, with more judgment, decline 
their master s method of disputation ; easily per 
ceiving that it was adapted to the occasion: and 
that to make it a general practice, and the charac 
teristic of their school, would be irrational and 
absurd. But the MIDDLE and NEW, instead of 
profiting by this sage conduct of their Predecessors, 
made it a handle to extol their own closer adhe 
rence to their Master; and an argument that they 
were returned to his true principles, from which 
the old had licentiously digressed. A passage in 
Cicero will justify these observations; and these 
observations will explain that passage, which, I 
presume, without them would not be thought very 
intelligible. Thus the Roman Orator expresses 
himself, under the character of an Academic : 
Primum, inquam, deprecor, ne me, tanquam phi- 
losophum, putetis schoiam vobis aliquam explica- 
turum : quod ne in ipsis quidem philosophis 
magnopere unquam probavi: quando enim Socrates, 
qiti farms philosophic jure did potest, quidquam 

* Acad. Queest. lib. i. c. 12. 

f See note [M] at the end of this Book. 



tale fecit ? Eoram erat iste mos ? qui turn Sophists* 
nominabantur ; quorum & miraero primus cst ausus 
Leontinus Gorgias in conventu poscere qaseStionera, 
id est, jubere dicere, qua de re quis vellet audire. 
Au dax negotium ; dkerem impudeas, nisi hoc m~ 
ttitutum postca translation ad phitosophos aostros 
met. Sed et flluni, quein nominavi, et ceteros 
Sophistas, ut ^ Platone ktelligi potest, lasos viderous 
a Socrate. Is enim percuBCtando atque mterrogando 
elicere solebat eorum ojanionesy qulbuscoio disse- 
rebat, ut ad ea, qu S respoodisscat, si quid vide- 
retur, diceret : Qui MOS CUM A POSTERIORIBUS 


CAVIT> INSTITUITQUE, ut it, qui SQ (tudtre vetfent, 
non se qu&rererJ, scdipsi dlcerent, quid s&itlrent: 
tjitod cum dlrissent, ille contra *. Here Cicero has 
gilded the false, but showy pretences of bis Sect : 
which not only represented their scepticism, as a 
return to the true principles of Socrates; bat 
would have the dogmatic sects of philosophy, 
against all evidence of antiquity, the later product 
of that race of Sophists, with whom the venerable 
Athenian had to do. But the Old Academy we 
may be sure, thought differently of die matter; 
Lucullus says of Arcesilaiis, Nonne cum jani phi- 
. losophorum disciplines gravissima* coRstitisseat, turn 
exortus est ut in optima Rep, Tiberius Gracchus, 
qui otium perturbare^ sic Arcesilausj, qui coosti- 
tutam phiiosaphiam everteret f . 

* De Fro. BOR. et, Mai. iL c, i . t 
x 4 


However, these bold pretensions of restoring the 
SOCHATIC SCHOOL to its integrity, deluded many 
of the Ancients ; and made them, as particularly 
Diogenes Laertius, to rank Socrates in the number 
of the Sceptics. 

But this is not strange, for it was in the fashion 
for all the Sects to pretend relation to Socrates. 
Proserninata3 sunt familiae dissentientes, et multum 
disjunct et dispares, cum tamen OMNES se phi- 
losuphi SOCRATICOS et dici velleat ct esse arbitra- 
rentur, says Cicero. And again, Fuerunt etiam 
alia genera philosophorum fere qui se OMNES 
SOCRATICOS esse dicebant ; rretricorum, Heril- 
liorum, Megaricorum, PYRRHONEORUM *. The 
same thing, I believe, Apuleius meant to express, 

when speaking of Socrates he says, cum nunc 

ctiam egrcgii Philosophi sectam ejus sanctissimam 
praoptent, et summo beatitudinis studio jurent in 
ipsius nomen f. 

On the whole it appears that the Academics, 
(middle and new) as distinguished from the Pla- 
tonists, were mere Sceptics ; and so, like the Pyrrho~ 
mans, to be thrown out of the account. 

Those therefore which remain, are the PYTHA- 
STOIC : And if it be found that none of these four 
renowned schools (the PHILOSOPHIC QUATERNION 
OF DOGMATIC TntisTs) did believe, though all 
sedulously taught, the doctrine of a future state 

* De. Orat. lib. iii. f Metam. 1. x. 


of rewards and punishments, the reader, perhaps, 
>vill no longer dispute the conclusion, THAT IT 


I. PYTHAGORAS comes first under our inspection. 
HE is said to have invented the name long alter the 
existence of his trad^; and was, as we may say, 
the middle link that joined together the Lawgivers 
and Philosophers ; being indeed the only Greek, 
who was p-operly and truly both : though, from his 
time, and in conformity to his practice, not only 
those of his ow n school, but even those of the other 
three, dealt much in legislation ; In which, his for 
tune was like that of Socrates, who was the first and 
last of the philosophers that confined himself to 
morals ; though, in imitation of his conduct, morals, 
from thence, made the chief business of all the 
subdivisions of his school. 

In the science of legislation, ORPHEUS*, for 
whom he had the highest reverence, was his master; 
and in philosophy, PHERECYDES SYRUS f. 

After he had formed his character on two so 
different models, he travelled into EGYPT, the 
fountain-head of science ; where, after a long and 
painful initiation, he participated of all the Mysteries 
of the priesthood. 

Jie had now so thoroughly imbibed the spirit 
of legislation, that he not only pretended his LAWS 

* Jamblichus de Vita Pyth. c. 151. f Id. ib. c. 184. 


were inspired,, which most other Lawgivers had 
dorre; but that his PHILOSOPHY was so, like 
wise * ; which wo other Philosopher had the con 
fidence to do. . 

This, we may be sure, would incline him to a 
more than ordinary cultivation of the DOUBLE 
DOCTRINE, " He divided his disciples (says 
* * Oiigen) into two classes, the one he called the 
u ESOTERIC, the other, the EXOTERIC. For ta 

Those he intrusted the more perfect and sublime 
w doctrines ; to he delivered the more vulgar 
u and popular f." And, indeed > he was so eminent 
in this practice, that the secret or esoteric doctrine 
f Pythagoras became proverbial. For what end 
&e did it, Varro informs us, in St Austk\ where he 
says, that " Pythagoras instructed his auditors irt 
* the science of legislation LAST OF ALL, when 
** they were now become learned, wise, and happy.* 
And on what subject, appears from a common 
saying of the sect, that " in those things which 
" relate to the Gods, ALL was not to be revealed 
" to ALL ." 

The Communities he gave laws to, the Cities he 
set free, are known to every one* And that nothing- 

* Jamblielms de Vita Pyth. c. i . 

f Our rk (juxQnlx; &&*, xj TK; EIHTEPIKOYS, 

TU$ 31 rot, fAsigutTega. Fragm, cle Philos. 

Mrj eiiw wgp; vsafiaz is&vlcz j$<x* 


might be wanting to his legislative character, He, 
likewise, in conformity to general practice, instituted 
MYSTERIES; in which was taught, as usual, " the 
" unity of the divine nature." So Jamblichus: 
" They say too he taught lustrations and IN ITIA- 
" TIONS, ,in which were delivered the MOST EXACT 
" KNOWLEDGE of the Gods. They say farther, 
" that he made a kind of union between divine phi- 
" losophif and religious worship ; having learnt some 
" thinss from the ORPHIC rites ; some, from the 


" EGYPTIAN PRIESTS; some, from the Chaldeans 
" and Magi; and some from the INITIATIONS 
" celebrated in ELEUSIS, Imbros, Samothrace and 
" Delos ; or wherever else, as amongst the CELTS, 
" and Iberians *." Nay so much did his legislative 
Character prevail over his philosophic, that he 
brought not only the principles t of the Mysteries 
into the schools, but likewise many of the observances ; 
^as abstinence from Beans and several kinds of 
animals ; which afterwards contributed not a little 
to confound the secret doctrines of the Schools and 

# Alyetoejv 5s avruv ra$ xaQotfljui$, xj rats telou-evas TEAE- 


j StpatTriiaV a /wev /*5o j/?a votpa TWV OP^IKflN, a, 3s 

AirrnrinN IEPEHN, ^ ^^ x 

" waft ri$ TEAETH2, T^ sv EAET21NI 
E, xj 2/xo%aw xj Ar^Aw, :tj " T; -ara^a 
xj 7^ T^ KEATOT2 xj TW K>: f /ay. Jainbl. de 

f See Book II. Sect. 4- Vol. II. p. 19. 


She Mysteries* This confbrmif y was, without doobt r 
the- reason why the Crotoniates r or the Metapon- 
fcrnes (for in this authors differ*) turned his boose 
or school, after his death, into a TEMPLE of CERES* 

Thus the fame and authority o Pythagoras 
Becanae unrivalled over all Greece and Italy, 
Herodotus calls him, the most authoritative ofphi- 
Rsspkers f. Cicero- says of him : Cum, Superbo 
segnante, in Italiam venisset, ten-uh Magnam Ulam 
Graeciam euro HONORS EX DISCIPLINE,, turn 

And this was no transient reputation- : it de 
scended to his followers, through a long succession ; 
to whom the cities of Italy frequently committed 
the* administration; of their affairs ;,. where they so 
well; established their authority, that St. Jeirona tells 
us, wry lasting marks of it were remaining to his 
Sirae :. Respice omnem oram Italic, q,use quondam 

* Diog. Laert. lib. viii. | 17. Porph.. die Vit. Pytli- 

f Oy T acr^mrara crotpirn Iluflayofir. lib. iv. 95, 
literally, not of the least authority: a common mode 
of" expression in the ancient languages. So Homer, in 
the 1 5th Iliad, calls Achilles, ax p<awCT7- "Axawr, not 
the worst soldier of the Greeks-; meaning, we 
the best. 

J See note [M] at the end of "this- Book. 

TI Xj 01 ffuvovlE$ aura traigoi) urs Xj v 
avrx sirfyexw ?a$ noteis, Porph. de Vit. Pyth. N54. 


Magna Gratia dkebatur; et Pytkagoreonm &g- 

matum inclsa publids titeris am cognosces*. 

But there are two circumstances, which must 
meeds give us the highest idea of Pythagoras s fame 
in point of legislation. 

1. The om is, that almost every Lawgiver of 
eminence, for some time before f and after, as wel 
as durwg Ms time, was numbered amongst his 
disciples : for the general opinion was, that nothing 
could be done to purpose in the legislating way., 
which did not oorwe from Pythagoras. 

2. The other is, that the doctrine of the dispen* 
sation of Providence by a METEMPSYCHOSIS, w 
transmigration of the soul, though taught in all the 
Mysteries, and an iiis-eparable part of a future State 
in all the Religions of pagataism, became, "in com 
mon speech, the peculiar doctrine of Pythagoras. 

And here the reader will pardon a short remark 
or two, not a little illustrating the point we are 

There is not a more extraordinary book in aS 
Antiquity, than the METAMORPHOSIS OF OVID; 
whether we regard the matter or the form. The 
subject appears prodigiously extravagant, and the 
composition irregular and absurd : had it been the 
product of a dark age, and a barbarous writer, one 

* Cent. Ruf. lib. ii. 

f See the discourse on Zalencus s laws., B. IT.. Sect. 3- 


might have been content to rank it in the class of 
our modern Oriental Tales, as a matter of no con 
sequence. But when we consider it as written 
when. Rome was in its meridian of science and 
politeness ; and by an Author, whose acquaintance 
with the Greek tragic writers, had informed him of 
what belonged to a work or composition, we cannot 
but be shocked at so "grotesque an assemblage of 
things : Unless we would rather distrust our modern 
judgment , and conclude the deformity to be only 
in appearance. And this, perhaps, we shall find 
to be the case: though it must be owned, the 
common opinion seems supported by Quintilian, 
the most judicious critic of Antiquity, who thus 
speaks of our Author and his Work : Ut Ovidius 
LASCIYIRE in Metamorphosi solet, quern tamen 
excusare necessitas potest, RES DIVERSISSIMAS 


But to determine on proper grounds, in this 
matter, we must consider the origin of the ancient 
fables in general. 

There are two opinions concerning it. 

I. Thejirst is of such who think the fables con 
trived, by the ancient Sages, for repositories of their 
mysterious wisdom ; and, consequently, that they 
are no less than natural, moral, and divine truths, 
fantastically disguised. Greg. Naz. characterizes 
these allegories well, where he calls them monstrous 

* Instit. Orat, lib, iv. c. i, sub fin. 


zxplanatiom, without principles; in which there is 
nothing stable, but a way of interpretation which, 
if indulged, would enable you to make any thing 
out of any thing *. But what must eternally dis 
credit the fancy, that the first Mythologists were 
Allegorists, is, that if they indeed invented these 
fables to convey under them natural, moral, and 
divine truths, they must have been wise and virtuous 
men, lovers of Mankind, and the friends of Society, 
But how will this .character agree to the abominable 
lewdness, injustice, and impiety, with which most 
of these popular fables abound ; and which they 
could not but foresee would (as in fact they did) 
corrupt all the principles of moral practice. For 
both these reasons, therefore, we must conclude 
that a system which gives us nothing for the moral 
but what, as Greg. Naz. observes, is uncertain, 
groundless and capricious ; while the Fable presents 

nothing but what is absurd and obscene t, must be a& 


after-thought employed to serve a purpose. How 
ever, it was well for truth, that none of these ancient 
Allegorists were able to do better ; that none of 
them entered upon their task with any thing like the 
force of our BACON J ; the creative power of whose 


* Efr I 

UK. lS<ni TO rao-^y. Orat. iii. 

*f* -UfAlV B ^T TO VQXftEVOy 

%wj . Ib. 

$ In lik Book ; De sapientia veterum. 


genius so nearly realized these inventions, as some 
times to put us to a stand, whether we should not 
prefer the riches and beauty of his imagination, to 
the poor and meagre Truth that lies at bottom. 

II. The other opinion of the origin of the fables, 
is that which supposes them to be the corruptions 
of civil history; and consequently, as having their 
foundation in real facts : And this is unquestionably 
the truth. But this system did not find so able an 
expositor formerly in Palaphatus, as the other more 
groundless conceit did of late in Bacon. It would 
lead me too far from my subject, to shew, in this 
place, which of the fables arose from the ambiguity 
of words, ill translated from some eastern languages; 
which, from proper names ill understood ; which, 
from the high Jigures of poetry, were invented to 
affect barbarous minds; and which, from the politic 
contrivances of statesmen, to tame and soften savage 
Manners: and how the universal passion of AD 
MIRATION procured an easy admittance into the 
mind, for all these various delusions. 

But we must not omit, that the followers of this 
better opinion are divided into two factions; One of 
which would have the ancient fables the corruption 
of PROFANE history only; the Other, only of 


This Last seems unsupported by every thing but 

an ill-directed zeal of doing honour to the Bible: 

For by what we can collect from Pagan, or even 

2 Jewish 

Jewish writers, the history of the Hebrews was 
less celebrated, even less known, than that of any 
other people whose memory Antiquity hath brought 
down to us. But, known or unknown, it is some 
what hard, methinks, that GREECE must not be 
allowed the honour of producing one single Hero; 
but all must be fetched from PALESTINE. One 
would have thought the very number of the Gentile 
worthies, and the scarcity of the Jewish, might 
have induced our critics, in mere charity, to employ 
some home-spun Pagans, for Heroes of a second 
rate, at least. But this, it seems, would look too 
like a sacrilegious compromise. So, an expedient 
is contrived to lessen that disparity in their number : 
and Moses alone is discovered to be Apollo, Pan, 
Priapus, Cecrops, Minos, Orpheus, Amphion, Tire- 
sias, Janus, Evander, Romulus, and about some 
twenty more of the Pagan Gods and Heroes. So 
says the learned and judicious Mr. Huet * : who, 
not content to seize, as lawful prize, all he meets 
within the waste of fabulous times, makes cruel 
inroads into the cultivated ages of history, and will 
scarce allow Rome its own Founder j~. 

Nay, so jealous are they of this fairy honour 
paid to Scripture, that I have met with those who 
thought the BIBLE much disparaged, to suppose 

* See note [P] at the end of this Book. 

f Si fid em sequimur historic, fabulosa pleraque de 
eo [Romulo] narrari. Prop. iv. c. 9. 8. 

VOL. III. F any 

any other origin of human sacrifices than the com 
mand to Abraham, to offer up his son. The con 
tending for so extraordinary an honour being not 
unlike that of certain Grammarians, who, out of 
due regard to the glory of former times, will not 
allow either the great or small-pox to be of modern 
growth, but vindicate those special blessings to this 
highly-favoured Antiquity. 

The other party then, who esteem the fables a 
corruption of Pagan history, appear in general to- 
be right. But the misfortune is, the spirit of system 
seems to possess these likewise, while they allow 
nothing to Jewish history : For, that reasoning, 
which makes them give the Egyptian and Phenician 
a share with the Grecian, should consequentially 
have disposed them to admit the Jewish into part 
nership ; though it might perhaps contribute least 
to the common stock. And he who does not 
see * that Philemon and Baucis is taken from the 
story of Lot, must be, very near, blind : Though 
he t who can discover the expedition of the Is 

* La fable de Philemon et de Baucis les personages 
sont inconnus, et j en ai rien d interessant a en direr 
*;ar de penser avec Mr.Huet, qu elle nous cache Fhistoire 
ties Anges qui allerent visiteF Abraham, c est une de ces 
imaginations hazardees dans lesqudles ce savant prelat, 
Sec. Bariier, les Metam. d Ovid. explic. des fables 7, 8, 
o, & 10. lib. viii. 

f See Lavaur, one of the best and latest supporters 
of this system, in his Histoire de la Fable conferee 



raelites from Egypt to Palestine, in the fable of 
the Argonauts, must certainly be gifted with the 

Lastly, as it is the fault of these to allow nothing 
to Jewish history, so it is the fault of both to allow 
nothing to the system of the Allegorists : for though 
without all question the main body of the ancient 
fables is the corruption of civil History, yet it is 
as certain, that some few, especially of the late 
ones, were invented to convey physical and mofal 

Such was the original of the fables in general : 
But we must be a little more explicit concerning 
that species of them called the METAMORPHOSIS. 

The metempsychosis was the method, the reli 
gious ancients * employed to explain the ways of 
Providence; which, as they were seen to be unequal 
here, were supposed to be set right hereafter. 


avec rHistoire Sainte. Ainsi cette fable est toute 

composee des traditions que les Chananeens ou Pheni- 
ciens avoint repandues dans leurs voyages. On y voit 
des traits defigurez par ces traditions, mais CERTAINE- 
MENT pris de 1 histoire des Israelites sous Moyse et 
sous Josue. Cap. Jason Seles Argonautes, a la fin. 

* But this being the voice of our common nature, 
it is no wonder we should find the doctrine of the 
metempsychosis operating, as an old Opinion, amongst 
the uninstructed natives of South America. See Char- 
levoix s Hist of Paraguay, vol. ii. p. 151. 


But this inequality was never thought so great, as to 
leave no footsteps of a superintendency : For the 
people of old argued thus : If there were no ine 
quality, nothing would want to be set right:, and if 
there were nothing bat inequality, there would be 
no one to set it right. So that a regular Providence, 
and none at all, equally destroyed their foundation 
of a future state. 

It being then believed, that a Providence was 
administered here as well as hereafter, though not 
with equal vigour in both states ; it was natural for 
them to suppose that the mode of it might be 
much the same, throughout. And as the way of 
punishing, in a different state, was by a transmigra 
tion of the soul , so in this, it was by a transforma 
tion of the body : The thing being the same, with 
only a little difference in the ceremonial of the 
transaction : the soul in the first case going to the 
body; and, in the latter, the body coming to the 
soul : This being called the metamorphosis ; and 
That, the metempsychosis. Thus, each made a part 
of the popular doctrine of Providence. And it is 
remarkable, that wherever the doctrine of transmi 
gration was received, either in ancient or modern 
times, there the belief of transformation hath pre 
vailed likewise *. It is true, that in support of the 

* The modern eastern tales are full of metamorphoses-, 
and it is to be noted that those people, before they em 
braced Mahometanism, were Pagans, and believers of 
the metempsychosis. 


first part of this superstition, Reason only suffered ; 
in support of the latter, the Semes too were violated. 
But minds grossly passioned, never want attested 
facts to support their extravagances. What prin 
cipally contributed to fix their belief of the meta 
morphosis was, in my opinion, the strong and dis 
ordered imagination of a melancholy habit \ a habit, 
more than any other, producing religious fear, and 
most affected by what it produces. There was a 
common distemper, arising from this habit, well 
known to the Greek physicians by the name of the 
LYCANTHROPY ; where the patient fancied himself 
turned into a wolf, or other savage animal. Why 
the disordered imagination should take this ply, is 
not hard to conceive, if we reflect that the mtt em- 
psychosis made part of the popular doctrine of Pro 
vidence ; and that a metamorphosis was, as we have 
said, the same mode of punishment, differing only 
in time and place. For thenligicus bdkj, we may 
be assured, would work strongly on a diseased fancy, 
racked by a consciousness of crimes, to which that 
habit is naturally obnoxious ; and, as it did in the 
case of Nebuchadnezzar, make the patient conclude 
himself the object of divine justice. Indeed, Da.- 
nieYs prediction of that monarch s disgrace, evidently 
shews it to have been the effect of divine vengeance; 
yet the circumstances of his punishment, as recorded 
in holy Writ, seem to shew, that it was inflicted by 
common and natural means. And that the vulgar 
superstition generally gives the bias to the career 

F 3 of 

of a distempered mind, we have a familiar instance. 
No people upon earth are more subject to atrabilarc 
disorders than the English : Now while the tales 
of magicians, and their transformations, were be 
lieved, nothing was more symptomatic in this dis 
temper, than such fancied changes by the power 
of witchcraft. But since these fables lost their 
terror, very different whimsies, we find, possess our 
melancholic people. 

These sickly imaginations therefore, proceeding 
from the impressions of the religious notion of the 
metamorphosis, would in their turn add great credit 
to it ; and then any trifle would keep it up ; even 
an equivocal appellation ; which; I do not doubt, 
hath given birth to many a fable ; though to many 
more, it hath served only for an after-embellishment 
But it is remarkable, that fabulous Antiquity itself 
assists us to detect its own impostures. For, although 
it generally represents the punishments for impiety, 
as actual tram formations ; yet, in the famous story 
of the daughters of Prcetus, it has honestly told us 
the case ; that it was no more than a deep melan 
choly, inflicted by Juno, which made them fancy 
themselves turned into heifers ; so the poet, 

" Prcetides implerunt FALSIS mugitibus agros. 

and of this, Melampus cured them by a course of 
physic *. 


* Prcetides, Proeti, Sc Stenobceae, sive Antiopse se- 

cundum Homerum, filiae fuerunt, Lysippe, Ipponoe, 

i Cy rianas sa. 


Thus the METAMORPHOSIS arose from the doc 
trine of the metempsychosis; and was, indeed, a 
mode of it; and, of course, a very considerable 
part of the Pagan theology * : So that we are not 
to wonder if several grave Writers made collections 
of them; such as Nicander, Boeus, Callisthenes, 
Dorotheus, Theodorus, Parthenius, and Adrian the 
sophist. Of what kind these collections were, we 
may see by that of Antonius Liberalis, who tran 
scribed from them; Thence, too, Ovid gathered 
his materials ; and formed them into a poem on the 
most sublime and regular plan, A POPULAR HIS 
TORY OF PROVIDENCE ; carried down in as me 
thodical a manner as the graces of poetry would 
allow, from the creation to his own times^ through 


Cyrianassa. Has se cum praetulissent Jtmoni in pul- 
chritudine ; vel, ut quidain volunt, cum essent antistites, 
ausse sunt vesti ejus aurum detractum in usum suum 
convertere : ilia irata hunc furorem earum immisit 
mentibus ; ut putantes se vaccas in saltus abirent, et 
plerumque mugirent, et timerent aratra; .quas Melam- 
pus, Amythaonis films, pacta mercede ut Cyrianassam 
uxorem cum parte regni acciperet, placata Junone, in- 
fecto fonte, ubi solitse erant bibere, purgavit et in pris- 
tinum sensum reduxit. Servius in Bucol. Virgilii vi.48. 

* It plainly appears to have been in general credit, by 
its makhig the foundation of the following epigram, 
one of the finest in antiquity : 

Ex w; JUE Scot TE^lav W0ov ix 5e X/fiwo 

MAN histories : And this the elegant Paterculus 
seems to intimate, in the character he gives of the 
poet arid his work *. 

Now the proper introduction, as well as foun 
dation and support, of this kind of history, is a 
THEISTICAL cosMOGENY. Accordingly, we find 
our Poet introduceth it with such a one. And this 
likewise in imitation of his Grecian Originals. 
Theopompus, by the account Servius gives of him, 
seems to have composed such a History, and so 
prefaced ; but on a more ingenious plan. Pie feigns 
that some of Midas s shepherds took the God, 
Silenus, asleep, after a debauch ; and brought him 
bound to their master. When he came into the 
Presence, his chains fell from him of their own ac 
cord; and he answered to what was required of 
him, concerning NATURE and ANTIQUITY f. From 
hence (as Serviu ; remarks) Virgil took the hint 
of his SILENUS: the subject of whose song is so 
exact an epitome of the contents of the META 

? Naso perfectissimi in forma opens sui. Hist. Rom. 
1. ii. c. 36 

f Sane hoc de Silcno non dicitur fictum a Virgilio, 
sed a Theopompo translation. Is cnim apprehensum 
Silenum a Miciaa regis pastoribus, dicit crapula madcn- 
tem, et ex ea soporatum ; illos dolo adgressos dormien- 
tem vinxisse; postea vincuiis sponte labentibus liberatum 
et rebus NATURALIBUS ct ANTIOUIS Midse interroganti 
respondisse. Serv. ad Eclog. vi. 33. 

MORPHOSIS of Ovid, that amongst the ancient titles 
of that Eclogue, the name of Metamorphosis was 
one; which therefore makes it worth considering; 

" Namque canebat uti magnum per inane coacta 
" Semina, &c. 

" - - - et ipse tener mundi concreverit or bis. 

" Hinc lapides Pyrrhae jactos, Saturnia regna, 

" Caucasiasq; refert volucres, furtumq; Promethei - 

" Turn Phaetontiadas musco circumdat amarae 

" Corticis 

" Quid loquar aut Scyllam Nisi, quam fama secuta est, 
" Candida succinctam latrantibus inguina monstris, 
" Dulichias vexasse rates - - - 
" Aut ut mutatos Terei narraverit artus :" < c*. 

Here we have the formation of the world, the 
golden age, and the original and renovation of man \ 
together with those ancient fables which taught the 
government of the Gods, and their punishment 
of impiety, by the change of human, into brutal 
and vegetable forms. It is evident from hence, that 
both the Latin poets drew from one source ; and 
particularly from Theopompus : whom Virgil hath 
epitomised ; and Ovid paraphrased. And if Ovid 
neglected to borrow a great beauty from his ori 
ginal, to adorn his own poem ; Virgil (which is 
much more surprising) by deviating, in one mate 
rial circumstance, from their common source, hath 
committed a very gross blunder. OVID, in ne 
glecting to lay the scene of his History in the ad 


venture of Midas s shepherds ; and so disabling 
himself from making SILENUS the Narrator through 
out, hath let slip the advantage of giving his sacred 
History the sanction of a divine Speaker, and, by 
that means, of tying the whole composition together 
in the most natural and artful manner. But then 
VIRGIL, either in fondness to the philosophy of 
Epicurus, or in compliment to Varus, who was 
of that School, instead of making his Cosmogeny 
theistical (as without doubt Theopompus did, and 
we see, Ovid hath done) from whence the popular 
history of Providence naturally followed, hath made 
it the product of BLIND ATOMS ; 

- - - " per inane coacta 
" Semina," 

from whence nothing naturally follows, but Fate or 

Chance. And yet Virgil talks like a Theist (indeed, 

because he talks after Theist s) of the renovation 

of Man, the golden Age, and the punishment of 

Prometheus. Servius seems to have had some 

obscure glimpse of this absurdity, as appears from 

his embarras to account for the CONNECTION 

between the Epicurean origin of the world, and the 

religious fables which follow. In his note on the 

words hinc lapides Pyrrhcz jactos, he says, 

qusestio est hoc loco : nam, relictis prudentibus 

f rebus de mundi origine, subito ad fabulas tran- 

situm fecit. Sed dicimus, aut exprimere eum 

voluisse sectam Epicurean), quae rebus seriis 

" semper 


" semper inserit voluptates : aut fabulis plenis ad- 
" mirationis puerorum corda mulcere." 

The old Scholiast, we see, was much a stranger 
to that conceit -of Catrou\ that as Epicurus s 
Physics are followed in the origin of the World, 
so his Morals are explained in the Fables. With 
out doubt, Servius thought it absurd to suppose 
that the Poet would explain the most obnoxious 
part of Epicurus s Philosophy (his Physics) so 
clearly, and the useful part (his Morals) so obscurely. 

However, in other respects, the Eclogue is full 

of beauties. 

On the other hand, Ovid not only found advan 
tages in making his Cosmogeny thcistical, but im 
proved what he found with wonderful art. De 
scribing the formation of man to be from earth, he 
shuts up his account in these beautiful lines, 

" Sic modo qua? fuerat rudis, et sine imagine Tellus 
<c Induit ignotas hominum, conversafiguras? 

Insinuating that this was the first of those CHANGES 
which he had promised to speak of ; and thereby 
finely preparing his Reader for the following con 
versions of Men into brutes, stocks, stones, and the 
several elements, by shewing that they were only 
returned into that, out of which they had been taken, 
by a no less surprising metamorphosis. 

But to go back to his Poem. Now although-, 
to adorn and enliven his Subject, he hath followed 
the bent of his disposition, in filling it with the love- 


stories of the Gods; which, too, their Traditions 
had made sacred; yet he always keeps his end in 
view, by taking frequent occasion to remind his 
reader, that those punishments were inflicted by 
the Gods, for impiety. This appears to have been 
the usual strain of the writers of METAMORPHOSES 
As long as they preserved their piety to thj Gods, 
they were happy *, being the constant prologue to 
a tragic story. So that, what Palasphatus says of 
the mythologic poets in general, may with a peculiar 
justness be applied to Ovid: The poets (says he) 
contrived fables of this kind, to impress on their 
hearers a reverence for the Gods f. 

But this was not all. Ovid, jealous, as it were, 
of the secret dignity of his Work, hath taken care, 
towards the conclusion, to give the intelligent reader 
the master-key to his meaning. We have observed, 
that though the metempsychosis was universally 
taught and believed long before the time of PY 
THAGORAS ; yet the greatness of his reputation, 
and another cause, we shall come to presently, 
made it afterwards to be reckoned amongst his 
peculiar doctrines. Now Ovid, by a contrivance, 
which for its justness and beauty may be compared 
with any thing in Antiquity, seizes this circumstance, 
to instruct his reader in these two important points : 

"Axpi f^v uv Ssa$ eTifAuV) v$aifjuiVE$ rt<r<xv. Ant. Liberalis 
Met. c. xi. 

f Toy? 5e pttovs Taraj o-uveQsrav ol wonfloi, "not ol axgou/Atvoi 
iv u$ TO Sew, De incred. Hist. c. 3. 

i. That 


i . That his poem is a popular history of Providence : 
And 2. That the Metempsychosis was the original 
of the Metamorphosis. For in the conclusion of 
his book, he introduceth Pythagoras, teaching and 
explaining the TRANSMIGRATION of things to the 
people of Crotona. This was ending his Work- 
in that just philosophic manner, which the elegance 
of pure and ancient wit required. 

The Abbe Banier, not entering into this beautiful 
contrivance, is at a loss * to account for Ovid s 
bringing in Pythagoras, so much out of course. 
The best reason he can assign, is that the poet 
having finished the historical metamorphosis, goes 
on to the natural ; which Pythagoras is made to 
deliver to the Crotoniates. But this is not fact, 
but hypothesis : The poet had not finished the 
historical metamorphosis : for having gone through 
the episode of the natural change of things, he 
re-assumes the proper subject of his work, the 
historical, or moral, metamorphosis, through the 
remaining part of the last book ; which ends with 
the change of Csssar into a comet. Had not Ovid, 
therefore, introduced Pythagoras, for the purpose 
here assigned, we should hardly have found him in 
this place; but in the Greek division, to which he 
properly belonged. Where the famous circum 
stance of his GOLDEN" THIGH, and the exhibition 
of it at the Olympic Games, would have afforded 
a very artful and entertaining Episode, in a narrative 

* Met. de Ovid, et des Expl Hist. torn. iii. 


of a CHANGE begun and left unfinished ; a proof 
of the truth of the doctrine of the Metamorphosis, 
at least as strong as that which the Alchymists 
bring for the reality of the transmutation of Metals, 
from the Nails, half gold and half iron, now to be 
seen in the Cabinets of the German Virtuosi. 

What hath been said, I suppose, will tend to 
give us a different and higher notion of this ex 
traordinary WORK : and lessen our surprise at the 
Author s presumption, in so confidently predicting 
immortality to his performance : 

" Jamque OPUS exegi, quod nee Jovis ira, nee ignis,, 
" Nee poterit ferrurn, nee edax abolere vetustas." 

To proceed with our subject. From what hath 
been said of Pythagoras s character, it appears, 
that lie taught several doctrines which he did not 
believe; and cultivated opinions merely on account 
of their utility. And we have the express testi 
mony of Timaeus Locrus, tha t, m the number of 
these latter, was the poputo.r doctrine of the me 
tempsychosis. This very anrjieiu Pythagorean, after 
having said *, that the propagating the doctrine of 
a future state of rewards and punishments, was 
necessary to society, go es on m t hi s manner: " For 
" as we sometimes cure the body with un whole- 
44 some remedies., when such as are most whole- 
some have no ^(Fec.t, so we restrain those minds 
1 by false relations* which will not be persuaded 

See the. J 7 irst Section of this Book. 

" bj 

" by the truth : There is a necessity therefore of 
" instilling the dread of those FOREIGN TORMENTS. 
" As that the soul shifts and changes its habitation; 
" that the coward is ignominiously thrust into the 
" body of a woman; the murderer imprisoned 
" within the furr of a savage; the lascivious con- 
" demned to invigorate a boar or sow ; the vain 
" and inconstant changed into birds; and the 
" slothful and ignorant into fishes. The dispen- 
" sation of all these things is committed in the 
" second period, to Nemesis tae Avenger ; together 
" with the infernal Furies, her Assessors, the In- 
" spectors of human actions; to whom God, the 
" sovereign Lord of all things, hath committed the 
" government of the world, replenished with Gods 
" and Men, and other animals; all which were 
" formed after the perfect model of the eternal and 
" intellectual ideas *." 

yap ta <7u^xl<x voorufow vsoxa yyio/xj, taut iw tlxn 


rj ay-ftai ahaQeo-r keyoivlo tf avaftcaiu; xj TIMHPIAI HENAI, 


OJV 3ff (JUatl$QV<aV, $ tylOM (Tupalx, 

i$ ishwuv ot{07ropW fyyccv 3s ^J aTrqou&W) af*,x8uv re y^ avo 
s$ rav TUV evvtyuv $sav aTrxvltz 3s raj/T sv favlspa ETE^O ^W fx. 
ow&Mpive, <ruv 3/jwo<rt ra^o^ya/otj x,6oviot$ TS, TO^ 
TWV cotifUTrivtov oT$ 6 isdvluv ayefMiv SEOJ fairpfif* 
<ruf*,ne<jrXn$ui*ew w ^ewv rs xj avQfuxuv, TO?V TS 
otra dkSayittp/ijZaH WOT ftxova T^V fjrav J ^@" 
/ x V8>i?w. De Anima Mundi, sub fin. 

Timseus s 


Timasus s testimony is precise; and, as this notion 
of the metempsychosis was an inseparable part of 
the doctrine of a future state of rewards and pu 
nishments, if the Pythagoreans disbelieved the one, 
they must necessarily reject the other. 

But, here it may be proper to explain, and inforce 
a distinction, which, by being totally overlooked, 
hath much embarrassed the whole matter. 

The doctrine of the metempsychosis, as it signified 
a moral designation of Providence, came originally 
from Egypt, and was, as we have said, believed by 
all mankind. But Pythagoras, who had it, with the 
rest of the world, from thence, gave it a new modi 
fication, and taught, " that the successive transition 
of the soul into other bodies, was physical, necessary, 
and exclusive of all moral considerations whatever." 
This is \vhat Diogenes Laertius means, when he 
tells us, " That Pythagoras was reported to be 
" the FIUST who taught the migration of the soul, 
" from one body to another, by a PHYSICAL NE- 
" CESSITY *." This doctrine was, indeed, pecu 
liarly his, and in the number of the esoterics, 
delivered in his School, to be believed. 

How destructive this proper Pythagoric notion 
of the metempsychosis was to the doctrine of a 
future state of rewards and punishments, Ovid, 
who well understood the secret of the distinction, 

* TlpSnov 5s tpcuri Tci/rov aTroffivau T>iv ^ux^v KTKAON 
ANAFKH2 AMEIBOT2AN, atoole fate* ivdeio-QM &ois 

L. viii. ^ 14. 


evidently perceived, where he makes Pythagoras, 
in delivering the esoteric doctrine of his school to 
the Crotoniates, reject a future state of rewards 
and punishments, on the very principle of his 
own metempsychosis, though the general metempsif- 
chosis was an inseparable and essential part of 
that state : 

O genus attonitum gelidae formidine mortis, 
Quid Styga, quid tenebras, et nomina vana timetis, 
Materiem vatum, falsique piacula mundi ? 
Corpora, sive rogus flamma, seu tabe vetustas 
Abstulerit, mala posse pati non ulla putetis. 
Morte carent animae : SEMPERque priore relicta 
Sede, no vis dornibus * habitant vivuntque receptce. 

The not attending to this distinction, hath much 
perplexed even the best modern writers on the 
subject of Pythagoras. Mr. Dacier, in his life of 
that philosopher, when he comes to speak of the 
doctrine of the mefempsychosis, advances crudely, 
that all Antiquity have been deceived in thinking 
Pythagoras really believed it. And, for his warrant, 
quotes the passage from Timaeus, given above. Mr. 
Le Cierc f , scandalized at this assertion, affirms as 
crudely, that he did believe it ; and endeavours to 
prove his point by divers arguments, and passages 
of ancient writers. In which dispute, neither of 
them being a ware of the two different kinds of 
Metempsychosis, each of them have with much 

* L. xv. f Bibl. Choisie, torn. x. art. ii. sect. 5. 

VOL. III. G confusion, 


confusion, taken of the true and false in this question, 
and divided it between them. Dacier was surely 
in the right, in supposing Pythagwas did not 
believe the Metempsychosis, as delivered by his 
disciple Timaus ; but as certainly in the wrong to 
conclude from thence, that he believed none at all. 
And Le Cterc was not mistaken in thinking the 
philosopher did believe some sort of Metempsy 
chosis , but apparently in an error in supposing 
that it was the popular and moral notion of it. 
In a word, the proofs which Dacier brings, conclude 
only against Pythagoras s believing a moral trans 
migration ; and those Le Clcrc opposes, conclude 
only for his believing a natural one. While neither, 
as we say, apprehending there were two kinds, the 
I one common to all, the other peculiar to that Phi- 
1 losopher, they have both fallen into great mistakes. 

Let me give an instance from Le Clerc ; as it 
will contribute in general to illustrate the subject, 
and, at the some time, throw light on the latter 
part of the passage, we have but now quoted from 
Timieus. Dacier had urged that passage to prove 
Pythagoras did not believe the Metempsychosis ; 
and Le Cierc had urged it, to prove he did ; 
because the author in conclusion expressly affirms, 
that the dispensation of the Metempsychosis is com 
mitted in the second period to Nemesis the avenger. 

"A-rravla, <5t TOLIITX, EV &v?p -srsptocfy a Nt ^fen? 2YN- 

AIEKPINE. Le Clerc says, I have translated these 
verbatim, that the. reader may see lie talks 
1 1 seriously. 

seriously *. But whoever reads the whole passage, 
which expressly speaks of the doctrine as useful 
and not as true, will be forced to own, that by 
the phrase, Nemesis decrees, is meant, it must be 
taught that Nemesis decrees. But this circum 
stance of Nemesis is remarkable; and enough to 
put the matter out of question. There were two 
kinds, as we have said, of the Metempsychosis, 
which the Pythagoreans taught ; the moral and the 
natural. The latter they believed, the first they 
only preached. So that Tiniaeus speaking here 
of the Metempsychosis as a fable, useful for the 
people to credit ; lest the reader should mistake 
him as meaning the natural, he adds the circum 
stance of Nemesis, the poetical Avenger of the 
crimes of men, to confine all he had said, to the 
moral Metempsychosis. 

To support what is here observed, it may not be 
improper to insert the sentiments of some of the 
most considerable of Pythagoras s DISCIPLES on 
this point : which I shall transcribe from my very 
learned Friend, the author of the Critical Inquiry 
into the Opinions and Practices of the ancient Phi 
losophers : where the reader may see them admi 
rably well explained, and defended from a deal of 
idle chicane. Plutarch tells us " that EMPE- 
" DOCLES held death to be a separation of the 

* J ai traduit ces dernieres paroles de Timee mot 
pour mot, afinque Ton pfit voir, cru il paile serieusement. 
Bibl. Choisie. torn. x. p. 193. 

G a " fiery 


" fiery substance from the other parts, and there- 
1 fore supposed that death was common to the 

" soul and body *." 

Sextus Empiricus says, " it is evident that 

" Epicurus stole his principles from the poets. As 
to that famous tenet of his, that death is nothing 
to ?/.v, he borrowed it from .EpiciiARMus, who 
says, I neither look upon the act of dying, or 

" the state that succeeds it, as of any consequence 

" and importance to me f." 

Plutarch likewise, in his consolation to Apollonms, 

cites the following words of EPICHARMUS : " The 

parts of which you are composed will be separated 

at death ; and each will return to the place from 

" which it originally came. The earth will be re- 
stored to earth, and the spirit will ascend upwards; 

" what is there terrible or grievous in this^r 3 

rov Savalw ysfEvyrGai ^ta^o^i^^ov TS 

uy Y) vvyx.picri$ TW avfyuiru eryvcrA are Kctia. raro xo.vov 
TOV SavMw <rufx,alo$ x^ -^u^r,^ DC Plac. c. 25. Cicero 
says, Empedocles aniiinim esse ccnset cordi suffusiim 
saiiguiiicm. i Tusc. p. alluding to Einpedoclcs s o\va 
.words in that famous verse: 

Aif^ot yap avfyuTToif SJEpittaftiov en vw//.&. 

v h o OB E5T**spo< tpuparxi ra Kpotrira ruv dofytxruv 
-monjluv. awpKOMBS -- -roy SE Savaflov on sdev sri *s:fo$ 
<ZUTU sqoffpiwwKw 
ad Gram. ^ -273. 

J KaAw$ av o > E7ri / J &p/J>&- wvt 

$ ydv, WcSpa & civx ri TW$E xateTrov; x& Iv. 



As for this ascent of the spirit upwards, Lucre 
tius will explain it : 

Cedit enhn retro, de terra quod fuit ante, 

In terras : et quod missum est ex Athens oris, 

Id rursum coeli rellatum templa rcccptant. Lib. ii. 

TELES, another follower of Pythagoras, thus 
addresses himself to one grieved and afflicted for 
the loss of a deceased friend ; " You complain 
" (says he) that your friend will never exist more. 
" But remember, that he had no existence ten 
" thousand years ago, that he did not live in the 
" time of the Trojan war, nor even in much later 
" periods. This, it seems, does not move you : all 
" your concern is, because he will not exist for the 
" future*." Epicurus uses the very same language 
on the same occasion : 

llespice item quarn nil ad nos ante acta vetustas 
Temporis aeterni fuerit, quara nascimur ante. 
Hoc igitur nobis speculum natura futuri 
Temporis exponit, post mortem denique nostram. 

Lucr. 1. iii. 
S.o far, my learned friend. 

II. PLATO is next in order : He likewise greatly 
affected the character of Lawgiver ; and actually 

start srar sfi yaf 

TSfOKXTT Tnit <T8. 

W* Stobueus 

T1 "5 
EC. c. 106. 

G 3 compose4 

composed laws for several people, as the Syracusians 
and Cretans ; but with what kind of spirit we may 
judge, by his refusing that employment for the The- 
bans and Arcadians, as soon as he understood they 
were averse to equality of possessions *. The truth 
is, his philosophic character, which was always pre 
dominant (as in Pythagoras the legislative) gave his 
politics a cast of refinement which made his schemes 
of Government very impracticable, and even un 
natural. So that, though his knowledge of mankind 
was indeed great and profound, and therefore highly 
commended by Cicero t, yet his fine-drawn specu 
lations brought him at length into such contempt as 
a writer of politics, that Josephus tells us, notwith 
standing he teas so high in glory and admiration 
amongst the Greeks, above the rest of the Philo 
sophers, for his superior virtue, and power of elo 
quence, yet he was openly laughed at, and bitterly 
ridiculed, by those who pretended to any profound or 
high knowledge of politics J. 

The only Greek masters he followed, were Pytha 
goras and Socrates: These he much admired. 
From the first, he took his fondness for geometry, 

* See JElian. Yar. Hist. 1. ii. c. 42. 

f Deus ille noster Plato in votilelcc. See B. ii. 3. 

U^aruv & 

T o$ xtoi iv, i>; x 
flix 3ifv:/xv x 

c-civav EIVCU ra, 

lalitei. Cont. A p. 

l.ii. 31. 


his fanaticism of numbers, his ambition for law- 
giving, and the doctrine of the Metempsychosis ; 
From the latter, the study of morals, and the mode 

of disputing. 

This was a monstrous mis-alliance*: I mean, 
-the incorporating into one Philosophy, the doctrines 
of two such discordant Schools : the first of which 
dogmatized in the most sublime questions of natuie; 
the* other gave up the most vulgar, as inscrutable. 
The Philosopher of Sarnos aimed at glory; the 
legislator of Sarnos followed utility ; but the simple 
Moralist of Athens laboured after truth. 

We need not therefore any longer wonder at the 
obscurity which Plato s frequent contradictions 
throw over his writings. It was caused not only by 
the double doctrine, a practice common to all the 
Philosophers ; but likewise by the joint profession 
of two such contrary Philosophies. This effect 
could not escape the observation of Eusebius : 
Hear then (says he; the Greeks thctmdws, by their 
best and most powerjul speaker, now rejecting, and 
now again adopting the FA-BLES f. 

However it was the abstruse pliilosophy of Pytha- 
<toras with which he was most taken. For the sake 


* See note [P] at the end of this Book, 

, role V lv waTuv tlffTTG&pevv ru$ pvQvs. Pra J .p. Evang. 
p. 47. Steph. Ed. See ^, p. 52, &c. and what will 
be further said on this matter, in note [Ml at the 

of this Book, 


of this, he assumed also the legislative part ; and in 
imitation of his master, travelled into Egypt; where 
he was initiated into the Mysteries of the priest 
hood. It was this which made Xenophon, the 
faithful follower of Socrates, say, that Plato had 
adulterated the pure and simple philosophy of their 
Master; and was IN LOVE zritk Egypt, and the 
portentous wisdom of Pythagoras *. And even oc 
casioned Socrates himself, on reading his romantic 
Dialogues, to exclaim, Ye Gods, what a heap of lies 
has this young man placed to my account f ! 

But of all the Egyptian inventions, and Pytha- 
goric practices, nothing pleased him more than that 
of the double doctrine, and the division of his 
auditors into the exoteric and esoteric classes : lie 
more professedly than any other, avowing those 
principles, on which that distinction was founded ; 
such as, 7%** it is for the benefit of mankind, that 
they should be ojten deceived That there are some 
truths not jit for the people to know That the 
world is not to be entrusted with the true notion of 
God , and more openly philosophizing upon that 
distinction, in his writings. Thus, in his books 
of Laws (which we shall see presently were of the 
exoteric kind) he defends the popular opinion, 

T $a<rt ds K) XuxfctTw axyffavlot rov Autriv & 

-, Hfoxtas, ttTreiv, 41; srcM,* /xs xale^iif^ff o 
Diog. Laert. 1. iii. 35. 


which held the sun, moon, stars, and earth, to be 
Gods, against the theory of Anaxagoras, which 
taught the sun was a mass of fire, the moon an 
habitahle earth, $c. Mere, his objection to the 
NEW PHILOSOPHY (as he calls it) is, that it was 
an inlet to atheism ; for the common people, when 
they once found these to he no Gods which they had 
received for such, would he apt to conclude, there 
were none at all ; but in his Cratylus, which was 
of the esoteric kind, he laughs at their Forefather?, 
for worshipping the sun and stars, as Gods. 

In a word, the Ancients thought this distinction 
of the double doctrine, so necessary a key to Plato s 
writings, that they composed discourses on it. Nu- 
menius, a Pythagorean and Platonist both in one, 
wrote a treatise (now lost) of the secret doctrines 
(that is, the real opinions) of Plato * ; which would 
probably have given much light to this question, 
had the question wanted it- But Albinus, an old 
Platonist, hath, in some measure, supplied this loss, 
by his Introduction to the Dialogues of Platof. From 
which it appeal s, that those very books, where 
Plato most dwells on the doctrine of a future state 
of rewards and punishments, are all of the exoteric 
kind. To this, it hath been said, that some of these 
were of the political and civil kind : and so say I ; 

* Tlefi ruv Rt&Tuv^ a-nopfauv. Teste Euseb. 1. xiii. 
c. 4, 5. Prsep. Evaiig. 

f .A pud Fabric. Bibl. GJ-XC. lib, iii. c. 2* 



but nevertheless of the exoteric, called political, 
from their subject, and exoterlcal from their man 
ner of handling it. But if the nature of the sub 
ject vvill not teach these objectors that it must needs 
be handled exoterically, Jamblichus s authority 
must decide between us ; who, in his life of Pytha 
goras *, hath used political in the sense of exoterical: 
And in that class, Albinus ranks f the Criton, Phaedo, 
Minos, Symposium, Laws, Epistles, Epinomis, Me- 
nexenus, Clitophon, and Philebus. 

There is an odd passage in Cicero J, which 
seems to regard the Phaedo in the light of a mere 
eivtfirJc composition, so far as it concerns the doc 
trine of a future state of rewards and punishments. 
The auditor is advised to read the Phaedo, to con- 
firm his belief in this point : to which he replies, 
Feel mehercule, < quickm s<epius; scd NESCIO 
QUOMODO, dum lego assentlor: cum posul Ubrum, 
$ mecum ipse de Immortalltatc animorum c&pl 
co&itare, asscnsio omnis ilia clabitur. The only 


reasonable account I can give of this reflection, 
(far to suppose it an imitation of something like it 
in the Phredo itself, applied to a very different 
purpose, gives us none at all) I say the only reason 
able account is, that the Phaedo being an exoteric 
dialogue, and written for the people, was held 
amongst the learned, in the rank of a philosophical 
romance : but while one of these better sort of 

* Sect. 1 50. t Sect, 5. J Tusc. Disp. 1. i- c. 5. 


readers, is very intent on such a work, a master 
piece, like this, for composition and eloquence, he 
becomes so captivated with the charms and allure 
ments of these graces, that he forgets, for a moment, 
the hidden meaning, and falls into the vuljarjteceit, 
But bavin* thrown aside the book, grown cool, and 

c5 l - 

reflected on those principles concerning^ 6W and 
the sold, held in common by the Philosophers (of 
which more hereafter) all the bright colouring dis 
appears, and the gaudy vision shrinks from his em- 
trace. A passage in Seneca s Epistles, will explain, 
and seems to support, this interpretation. Quo- 
modo molest us cst JUCUNDUM SOMNIUM VIDE sir, 
qui exdtat\ aufert cnim votuptatem, etiamsi fal- 
sam, cffectum tamen vera habentevr, sic epistola 
tua mihi fecit mjiirlain\ reyocavit enim me cogita- 
tioni aptce traditum, &: it u rum, si licuisset, ulterius. 
Juvabat de aeternitate animarum qu&rere, imo 
mehercule credere. Credebam enim facile opinioni- 
bus inagnorum virorum, reni gratissimam promit- 
tentium magis quain probantium ! Dabam me spel 
tanttf. Jam eram fastidio mihi, jam re liquids 
cetatis infract a contemnebam^ in immensum illud 
tempus <* in possessionem omnis cevi transit urus: 
cum subiio experrecius sum> epistola tua accepta, 
&; tarn B E L LU M so M x i u si perdidi *. 

The Platonic philosophy being then entirely 
Pythagorean in the poirit in question, and this 
latter rejecting the doctrine of a future state of 



rewards and punishments, we might fairly conclude 
them both under the same predicament. 

But as PLATO is esteemed the peculiar patron 
of this doctrine; chiefly, I suppose, on his~being 
the Jirst who brought REASONS for the ETERNITY 
df the soul * : on this account, it will be proper to 
be a little more particular. 

1. First then, it is very true, that Plato hath 
argued much for the eternity, or, if you will, for the 
immortality of the soul. But to know what sort 
of immortality he meant, we need only consider 
what sort of arguments he employs. Now these, 
which he was so famous for inventing and inforcing, 
were natural and metaphysical, taken from the essence 
and qualities of the soul; which therefore concluded 
only for its permanency : and this he certainly be 
lieved f . But for any moral arguments, from which 
only a future state of rewards and punishments 
can be deduced, he resolves them all into tradition, 
and the religion of his country. 

2. As the inventing reasons for the immortality 
of the soul, was one cause of his being held the 

* Tuscul. Disp, 1. i. 0.17. Primum de animorum 
JETEKNITATE non solumsensisseidem quod PYTHAGORAS, 
sed RATION EM etiam attulisse. 

*f* Tot rationes attulit [Plato] ut velle ceteris, sibi 
certe persuasisse videatur. Cic. Tusc. Disp. 1. i. c. 21. 
KaQaKsp o VCJJL^- b var^- riyetj as he expresses it in his 
twelfth book of Laws. 


great patron of this doctrine; so another, was his 
famous refinement (for it. was indeed //Ay) of the 
natural Metempsychosis, the peculiar notion of the 
Pythagoreans. This natural Metempsychosis was, 
as we have said, that the successive transition of 
the soul into, other bodies was physical and necessary , 
and exclusive of all mor^designation whatsoever. 
Plato, on receiving this opinion from his master, 
gave it this additional improvement; that those 
changes and transitions were the purgations of im 
pure minds, unfit , by reason of the pollutions they 
had contracted, to reascend the place from whence, 
they came, and rejoin that Sui&sTAWCEfrom whence 
they were discerped; and consequently, that pure 
immaculate souls were exempt from this transmi 
gration. Thus Plato s Metempsychosis (which was 
as peculiarly his, as the other was Pythagoras*) 
seemed indeed to have some shadow of a moral 
designation in it, which his master s had not : neither 
did it, like that, necessarily subject all to it, without 
distinction; or for the same length of time. la 
this then they differed : But how much they agreed 
in excluding the notion of all future state of reward 
and punishment, will be seen., when in the next 
section we come to shew what a kind of existence 
it was which Pythagoras and Plato afforded to the 
soul, when it had rejoined that universal SUBSTANCE, 
from which it had been discerped. 

We have now explained the three sorts of Me 
tempsychosis ; The popular ; That which was 


peculiar to Pythagoras ; and lastly, Timt peculiar to 
Plato. The not distinguishing the Platonic from 
the Pythagoric; and both, from the Popular, has 
occasioned even the Ancients to write with much 
obscurity on this matter. What can be more inex 
plicable and contradictory than the account Servius 
hath given of it? " Sciendum, non omnes animas 
" ad corpora, reverti. Aliquoe enirn propter vitae 
merita non redeunt propter malam vitam; aliquee 
" propter fati necessitatem." In JEn. vi. ver. 713. 
Here, he has jumbled into, as the current doc 
trine of the Metempsychosis, these three different 
and distinct sorts : aliqua propter vita MERITA 
non redeunt, belonging to the popular notion; aliqua 
redeunt propter fall necessitate, belonging to 
Pytbagoras s; and allqiue propter MALAM vitam, 
to Plato s. 

3. However it is very true, that Plato in his 
writings inculcates the doctrine of a future state 
of rewards and punishments : but this, always in 
the gross sense of the populace : that the souls 
cf ill men descended into asses and swine; that 
the uninitiated lay in mire and filth ; that 
there vere three judges of hell : and talks much of 
Styx, Cocytus, Acheron, c. and all so seriously *, 
as shews he had a mind to be believed. 13ut did 
he indeed believe these fables ? We may be assured 
he did not : for being the most spiritualized of the 

* In his Gorgias, Phacdo, and Republic. 


Philosophers, had he really credited & future state 
of rewards and punishments, he would have refined 
and purified it, as he did the doctrine of t 

of the soul, which he certainly believed. But he 
has as good as told us what he really thought of 
the matter, in his Epinomis ; where, writing of the 
condition of a good and wise man after death, he 
says, of whom, both in JEST and in EARNEST, 
1 constantly affirm, that when such a one shall have 
finished his destined course by death, he shall at his 
dissolution be stript of those many senses which he 
here enjoyed ; and then only participate of one simple 
lot or condition. And, of MANY, as he was here, 
being become ONE, he shall be happy, wise, and 
blessed *. In this passage, I understand Plato 
secretly to intimate, that, when he was in jest, he 
held the future happiness of good men in a peculiar 
and distinct existence,, which is the popular and moral 
notion of a future state : but, when in earnest, he 
held, that this existence was not personal or peculiar,, 
but a common life? without distinct sensations: 
a resolution into the TO tv. And it is remarkable, 
that the whole sentence has an elegant ambiguity, 
capable of either meaning. For &&>,& v ala-towiM 
may either signify our many passions and appetites, 

* *Ov >c & 

* rl woXhuv TOTE xotbotTizo vw aiff&nfftuv, /ma; re 

Ok (AOVGV, >fy K ( STOA?.WV ivot yE/OVOTOj EV$GUfACVet T8 

tftfy&rttlw apa > paxctfiw. Sub fin. 



or our many cogitations. To deny we have the 
first of these in a future state, makes nothing 
against a distinct existence ; but to deny the second, 
does. His disciple Aristotle seems to have under 
stood him as meaning it in this latter sense, when 
iii earnest; and has so paraphrased it as to exclude 
all peculiar existence *. There is the same am 
biguity in lx sroAAwi/ **, which may either signify, 
that, of his many sensations, he hath only one left, 
the feeling happiness ; or that, from being a part, 
and in the number of many individuals of the same 
species, he is become 0/ve, and entire, by being 
joined to, and united \vith the universal nature. 
Plato affirms all this still more plainly, in his com 
mentary on Timeeus, where he agrees to his author s 
doctrine of the fabulous invention of the FOREIGN 


4. Iii confirmation of the whole, (/ . e. of Plato s 
disbelief of the religious doctrine of a future state, 
as founded on the v. ill and providence of the Gods) 
\ve observe, in the last place, that the most in- 
telli^ent of the Ancients regarded what Plato said 
of a future state of rewards and punishments, to be 
said only in the esoteric way to the people. 

The famous Stoic, Chrysipp us ;, when he blames 
Pldto, as not rightly deterring men from injustice, 
by frightful stories of future punishments, takes it 

* See hereafter, in Sect IV. of this Book. 

3 . : . . 

j- See pp. 78, 70. J Plut. de Stoic, repug. 



for granted that Plato himself gave no credit to 
them : for he turns his reprehension, not against 
that philosopher s wrong belief, but his wrong 
judgment, in imagining such childish terrors * could 
be useful to the cause of Virtue. 

Strabo plainly declares himself of the same opi 
nion, when, speaking of the Indian Brachmans, he 
says, that they had invented fables in the manner 
of Plato, concerning the immortality of the soul, 
and a future judgment in the shades below; and 
other things of the same nature f . 

Celsus owns that every thing which Plato tells us 
of a future state, and the happy abodes of the vir 
tuous, is an allegory. " But what (says he) we 
" are to understand by these things, is not easy for 
" every one to find out. To be master of this, we 
" must be able to comprehend his meaning, when he. 
" says, They cannot, by reason of their imbecility 
" and sluggishness, penetrate into the highest re- 
" gion. But were their nature vigorous enough 
" to raise itself to so sublime a contemplation, they 
" would then come to understand, that this was the 
" true heaven, and the true irradiation J." To un 

N fl; s3tv 3lpsfov7 TV$ Axxx$ xj nfc A*p/7Sf, 3i* uv to, 
vaidof ia ra xaKQa-Whiiv at ywauxe$ aveigyxvi. 

t UexfaTiKeKwi 3s -^ pv9x$, ucrTrep ^ IIAATUN, isttf re 
a<p6afffia$ ^UMS, xj TWV Kaff & xgtcrsuvy xj a^A TOICIUTX. 
Geogr. 1. xv. p. 1040. Gron. Ed. 

J T/ 3s 3i T8TWV IftQaviZety nsavn yvuvat pc&tov el JAYI ofif 
iffautiv dwoulon T/ WOT Irly txtTvo o <prwv VTT curQeveias j^ 


derstand this true irradiation, the dtofavw <??, we 
must consider that light was one of the most im 
portant circumstances of the Pagan Elysium, as we 
may see in the chapter of the Mysteries ; where a 
certain ravishing and divine light is represented, as 
making those abodes so recommendable ; 

Largior hie campos asthcr & lumine vestit 

Purpureo - - - 

But this remarkable passage of Celsus, besides the 
general conclusion to be drawn from it, confirms 
what we have said of the peculiar Platonic Metem 
psychosis. For here Celsus resolves all Plato s mean 
ing, in his representations of a future state of 
rewards and punishments, into that Metempsychosis: 
and we shall see hereafter, that that was resolvable 
into the re-union of the soul with the Divine Nature, 
when it became vigorous enough to penetrate into 
the highest region *. 

The emperor Julian addressing himself to Hera- 
clius the Cynic, on the subject of that sect, when 
he comes to speak of the double doctrine, and the 
admission ofjablc into the teachings of the philo 
sophers, observes, |hat it hath its use chiefly in 
Ethics (in which he includes Politics t) and in that 
part of theology relating to initiation^ and the mys 

TV- % out$ IT itvai $iB%e)iu TT sV^ofov rov as^a, >tj rj 
$vffi$ \KaYn t*w avct<7x,<r8ai ogz<r<X) yvuvsu av bri sxeivos Inv o 
#\nQ%$ fyavo; xj TO cfcnQiwv fwj. Orig. cont. Cels. 1. vii. 
p. 352. Sp. Ed. 

* See note [Q] at the end of this Book. 

QiXOVCfUKOV ?, TO 1StQ\ tiff,}! OlKtaV 

Oral. 7. 

t erics *. To support which, he presently quotes the 
example of Plato, w iio. when he writes of Theology, 
or as a Theologer, is full of fables in his accounts 
of the infernal regions f. From hence it appears, 
that, in the opinion of this learned emperor, Plato 
did not only not speak his real sentiments of these 
matters, but that when he did treat of them, it was 
not as a Philosopher, but as a Theologer ; in which 
character the ancient Sages never thought them 
selves obliged to keep within the limits of truth. 
What these fabulous relations were, he intimates, 
when he previously speaks of the fables taught in 
the Mysteries; by which he could only mean their re 
presentations of a futuie state : The great Secret of 
the Mysteries, the doctrine of the Unity, being, irihis 
opinion, of a nature directly contrary to the other. 

We now come to the PERIPATETICS and STOICS, 
who will give us much less trouble. For these 
having in some degree, though not entirely, thrown 
off the legislative character, spoke more openly 
against a future state of rewards and punishments. 
Indeed the difference in this point, between them 
and the Platonists, was only from less to more 
reserve, as appears from their all having the same 
common principles of philosophizing *. 

* Kal T SeofceyMttf, ry retort w, > (AVTIKU. Ib. 


Acad. Qusest.lib.i. 



III. ARISTOTLE was the disciple of Plato, and 
his Rival. This emulation, though it disposed him 
to take a different road to fame, in a province yet 
unoccupied, and to throw off the legislative cha 
racter; yet it set him upon writing books of law 
and politics, in opposition to his Master ; whom 
takes every occasion to contradict. 

He stuck indeed to the ancient method of the 
double doctrine, but with less caution and reserve. 
For, whereas the Pythagoreans and Platonists kept 
it amongst the secrets of their schools, he seems 
willing that all the world should take notice of it, 
by giving public directions to- distinguish between 
the two kinds *. Accordingly, in his Nkomachian 
Ethics, he expresses himself without any ceremony, 
and in the most dogmatic way, against a future 
State of rewards and punishments. Death (says 
he) is of all things the most terrible. For it is the 
final period of existence. And beyond that, it af- 
pears 7 there is neither good nor evil for the dead 
man to dread or hope \. 

And in another place he tells us, that the soul, 
after its separation from the body, will neither joy 
nor grieve, love, nor hate, nor be subject to any 

* See Cic. Ep. ad Att. lib. iv. Ep. 16. in singulis 

libris [de republica] utor procemiis, ut Aristoteles in iis > 
quos e|o/]f^xK$ vocat - 

*f- QcGeouTcfiw 5t o 3r < /(^* tskcas. yap xj aSsy m TW Tf^Vfwn 
fajittt sr alcdoV) are xoaov tivct Eth. ad Nicom. lib. iii. 
c. 6. p. 130. Ed. Han. 1610. 8vo. 



passions of the like nature. And lest we should 
suspect that this was said of the ANIMAL life only, 
he goes further, and observes, that it will then neither 
remember, think, nor understand*. It must there 
fore, according to this Philosopher, ibe absolutely 
lost, as to any -separate existence. 

IV. ZENO, the Founder of the Porch, followed 
the mode, in writing of Laws and a Republic. 
Agreeably to this part of his character, we find, by 
Lactantius, that lie taught a future state of rewards 
and punishments in the very terms of Plato : Esse 
wferos Zeao Stoicus docuit; $ sede-s piorum ab 
impiis esse discretas , $ Mo* qwdem qidetas ac delec- 
tabiles iRColerz rcgiones, bos vern lucre pxnas in 
tenebrosis lodsatque in cam voraginibits horrenditf. 
Yet, we know that he and the whole Porch held, that 
God governed the world only by his general Pro 
vidence; which did not extend either to Individuals, 
Cities, or People : And, not to insist that his fol 
lower Chrysippus laughed at these things, as the 
most childish of all terrors, we know too, that the 
philosophic principle of his School was, thai the 
soul died with the body^. Indeed, Jx> compliment 


* TO 3k AIANOEI20AI, xj $IAEIN MI2E1N, Ir 

T MNHMONETE, TE ^x?T. De anima, 1. v. 
f Inst. lib. vii. sect. 7, t Nat. Deor. 1. iii. c. 39. 




their WISE MAX, the Stoics taught that hi* soul 
held it out till the general Conflagration ; by which, 
when we come to speak of their opinion, concern 
ing the nature and duplicity of the soul, we shall 
find they meant just nothing. 

However, it was not long before the Stoics en^ 
tirely laid aside the legislative character ; for. which 
their Master appears to have had no talents, as we 
may judge by what he lays down in his Republic, 
that States should not busy themselves in erect in <? 
temples ; for we ought not to think there is any 
thing holy, or sacred, or tltat deserves any real 
esteem, in the work of masons and labourers *. The 
good man had forgot that he was writing Laws for 
a People; and so turned impertinently enough, to 
philosophise with the stoical Sage. The truth is, 
this sect had never any great name for Legislation: 
The reason is evident. This part of Ethics, more 
than any other, requires the cultivation of, and ad^ 
herence to, what is called COMMON NOTICES. 
Whereas, of all the ancient systems of Philosophy, 
the Stoical Morals most deviated from Nature f. 


TW ^ fojppdfyoy oTa In vs^i TX$ IDIOTS, y$ ^fi ^ S^TTU^ 
fu<ro;. Plut. de Plac. Phil. lib. iv. c. 7. See the Critical 
inquiry into the Opinions and Practice of the Ancient 
Philosophers, p. 2737. 2d ed. 

on >c yvuv 6 irsuf rn 

^ -2Z70MK a%iov -Hy ayiov olxobfauv re fyyoy -^ Qavawuv. Apud 
Grig. pont. Cels. p. 6 
t See note [R] at the end of this Book. 

They soon felt the effects which the doctrines of 
their School had on common life, and therefore 
in good time laid the study of Politics quite 
aside. After which, they wrote, without the least 
reserve, against a future state of rewards and 

Thus EPICTETUS, a thorough Stoic, if ever there 
was any, speaking of death, says, " But whither do 
" you " go ? no where to your hurt : you return 
" from whence you came : to a friendly conso- 
" ciation with your kindred elements ; what there 
" was of the nature of fire in your composition, 
" returns- to the element of tire ; what there was 
" of earth, to earth; what of air, to air; and of 
" water, to water. There is no Hell, nor Acheron, 
" nor Cocytus, nor Pyriphlegethon *." 

In another place, he says, " The hour of death 
" approaches. Do not endeavour to aggravate, 
"j" and make things worse than they really are: 
" Represent them to yourself in their true light. 
" The time is now come when the materials of 
" which you are compounded will be resolved into 
" the elements from which they were originally 
" taken. What hurt or cause of terror is there in 

# ___ , Ha; sis &w tisivov, aXX oQev lysva, $ rot 
wfyevw, els foixsief offov W Iv <roi wvf, & w? fasum, 
*3i* yjSiw Q<rov WMiuM*, els TSveu/toiTiQv cxrov 

Apud Arrian. lib. iii. c. 13. 

H4 "this? 

" this? or what is there in the world that ABSO- 


ANTONINUS says, " He who feareth death, either 

" fears that he shall be deprived of all sense, or 

that he shall experience different sensations. If 

6 all sensations cease, you will be no longer subject 

" to pain and misery; if you be invested with 

" senses of another kind, you will become another 

" creature, and will continue to exist as such f." 

SENECA, in his consolation to Marcia, daughter 
of the famous Cremutius Cordus the Stoic, is not 
at all behindhand, in the frank avowal of the same 
principles. Cogita, nullis defunct um malls qffici : 
ilia quce nobis inferos faciunt terribiles, FABULAM 
esse: nullas imminere mortuis tenebras, nee car- 
cerem, nee Jlumina Jlagrantia igne, nee oblivionis 
amnem, nee tribunalia, 8$ reos < in ilia libertate tarn 
laxa ullos iterum tyrannos. Luserunt istapoette, < 
vanis nos agitavere terroribus. Mors omnium dolo- 
rum 8 solatia est, 8$ Jinis : ultra quam mala nostra 
lion exeunt ; qua nos in illam tranquiUitatem, IN QUA, 


* "H5Vj Hpufa aTToQaysiv f*h Tfayu& i TO ^ay^a, aXX* elir* 

ftvcttj Yy Tl 0<VOV, Tl /XA^{ O,7TO>^J(7&ai 1(*V V Tw oV^tW. 1. iv. 7.1. 

*r "O TOV 

tire attoiQiepotv aurvwiv wwn, Mosov $uov ECO?, ^, T 
yiii. 58. 

t Cap. 19, 

Luc i AN, who, of all the Ancients, best under 
stood the intrigues and intricacies of ancient Phi 
losophy, appears to have had the same thoughts 
of the Stoics upon the point in question. In his 
Jupiter Tragicus, or discourse on Providence, Da- 
mis, the Epicurean, arguing against Providence, 
silences the Stoic, Timocles, when he comes to the 
inequality of events , because the Author would not 
suffer his Stoic to bring in a future state to remove 
the difficulty. And, that nothing but decorum, or 
the keeping each Sect to its own principles, made 
him leave the Stoic embarrassed, appears from Iris 
Jupiter confuted, or discourse on destiny; where, 
when Cyniscus presses Jupiter with the same argu 
ments against Providence, Jupiter easily extricates 
himself: " You appear by this, Cyniscus, to be 
" ignorant what dreadful punishments await the 
" wicked after this life, and what abundant hap- 
" piness is reserved for the good*." 

I will only observe in taking leave of this subject, 
that the famous STOICAL RENOVATION (which hath 
been opposed to what is here represented) seems to 
have been conceived on the natural Metempsychosis 
of Pythagoras. Origen gives the following account 
of it : " The generality of the Stoics not only sub- 
" ject every thing mortal to these RENOVATIONS, 
" but the immortals likewise, and the very Gods 
" themselves. For after the conflagration of the 

* Ob ya 

oVi o< petrol svfapmi* 

" Universe, 


<c Universe, which hath happened already, and will 
" happen hereafter, in infinite successions, the same 
" face and order of things hath been and ever will 
" be preserved from the beginning to the end *." 
It is true, the men of this School, to ease a little 
the labouring absurdity, contend for no more than 
the most exact resemblance of things, in one reno 
vation, to those of another. Thus the next Socrates 
was not individually the same with the last, but one 
exactly like him ; with exactly such a wife as 
Xantippe, and such accusers as Anytus and Me- 
litusf. Which, however, shews the folly of bringing 
this renovation for a proof, that the Stoics believed 
a future state of rewards and punishments. 

Having now gone through these FOUR FAMOUS 
SCHOOLS, I should have closed the section, but that 

T imagined 

* STCJ XWV ol tsteixg s I/.OVQV TY\V ruv 

tlveu QztriV) a>.X xj TY\V ruv aQxvxruv xj TUV HXT aur&f 
ya$ TY,V ra tzavTCx; sKTrvpua-iv anti^ccHis 

TCC& <XTT apxps (&%fi r^aj isavlvv ytyovs re 
(Asvlot StgaTrzuEiv icu; rctg otTrefjupaure^ ot 0.7:0 
off OTTWJ, aTra^a^oatlsg (pacriv effgo-Qat Kola 
eiTro TOJV vspolsppv veptofav vsavla? no, 
TI$ TO! 

. Orig. cont. Cels. 1. iv. ed. Spen. pp. 208, 209. 
The nature of this renovation is examined at large, 
and admirably developed, in the Critical Inquiry into 
the Opinions of the Ancient Philosophers. 
f See note [S] at the end of this Book. 


I imagined the curious reader would be well pleased 
to know what CICERO thought, on this important 
point ; Cicero, whcTfinished the Conquests of his 
countrymen in Greece, and brought home in triumph, 
those only remains of their ancient grandeur, their 
PHILOSOPHY and ELOQUENCE*. But there are 
great difficulties in getting to his real sentiments. I 
shall mention some of the chief. 

1. First, that which arises from the use of the 
double doctrine ; a circumstance common to the 
Greek philosophy ; of its essence ; and therefore, 
inseparable from its existence. The ancients who 
lived after Cicero, such as- Clemens Alexandrinus, 
Origen, Synesius, Sallust the philosopher, Apuleius, 
do iii fact speak of it as an instrument still in use ; 
nor do any other ever mention it as a thing become 
obsolete. So that when Cicero undertook to explain 
the Greek Philosophy to his countrymen, he could 
not but employ so fashionable a vehicle of science. 
But how much it contributed to hide the real senti 
ments of the user, we have seen above. 

2. Another difficulty arises from the peculiar 
genius of the Sect he espoused, the New Academy ; 
which was entirely sceptical: It professed a way of 
philosophising, in which there was no room for any 

^ - ToV <F ATTOtoUVlOV - EtVf-tV Sfi /UEV, W X/XEfftW, 

fy Savpafai ry$ tie *E*tee J" o uiluga TV T^%V, opoiv, 
TUV xahuv xj/owv ysrcAEiVelo, x^ ^odfrct, Pw/j.aioi$ &a era 
JIAIAEIAN TE *) AOFON, Tlut. Vit. Cic, 



one to interfere with his own opinions ; or, indeed, 
to have any. It is true, were we to consider Cicero 
as a strict Academic, in the Grecian sense of ad 
hering to a Sect, our enquiry would be presently at 
an end ; or at least very impertinent : but he pro 
fessed this Philosophy in a much laxer way ; as we 
shall now see. 

3. And this leads us to another difficulty, arising 
from the. manner, in which the Greek Philosophy 
was received in Italy. The Romans in general 
were, by their manners and dispositions, little 
qualified for speculative science. When they first 
got footing, and had begun a commerce for arts, in 
Greece, they entertained great jealousies of the 
Sophists, and used them roughly : and it was long 
before they could be persuaded to think favourably 
of a set of men, who professed themselves always 
able and ready to dispute for or against VIRTUE 
indifferently * : and even then, the Greek Philoso 
phy was introduced into Rome, but as a more re* 
fined species of luxury, and a kind of table-furniture, 
set apart for the entertainment of the Great; who 
were yet very far from the Grecian humour, jurare 
in verba rnagistri : they regarded the doctrines of 
the Sect they espoused, not as a rule of life, but 
only as a kind of Apparatus for their rhetoric 
schools ; to enable them to invent readily, and reason 
justly, in the affairs of life. Cicero, who best 

* See note [T] at the end of this Book. 


knew upon what footing it was received, says no 
less, when he ridicules Cato for an unfashionable 
fellow. Hac homo ingcniosimmus M. Cato aucto- 
ribus eruditissimis inductus, arripuit, NEQUE DISPU- 


The least, then, we may conclude from hence is, 
that Cicerc^ laughing at those who espoused a Sect 
viwndi cwm^ did himself espouse the Academic, 
causa disputandi: which indeed he frankly enough 
confesses to his adversary, in this very oration: 
fatebor enim, Cato, me quoque in adolescentia, 
diffisurn inferno meo, quaesisse adjumenta doctrinae. 
Which, mother words, is, I myself espoused a Sect 
of philosophy, for its use in disputation. Quintilian, 
having spoken of Cicero as a Philosopher, when lie 
comes to Cato s nephew, Brutus, (in his Philosophy, 
as much in earnest as his Uncle) ; of him, by way 
of Contrast to Cicero, he says, Egregius vero, multo- 
que quatn in Orationibus prsestantior Brutus, sufFecit 
ponderi rerum : sclas enim sentire qua dicit. As 
much as to say, " in this he was like Cicero, that 
he was equal to his subject ; in this however he was 
unlike, that he always said what he thought" This 
slippery way, therefore, of professing the Greek 
philosophy, must needs add greatly to the embarras 
we complain of. 

4. A fourth difficulty arises from Tally s purpose 
in writing his works of philosophy : which was, nc 

* See note [U] at the end of this Book, 



to deliver his own opinion on any point of ethics or 
metaphysics, but to explain to his countrymen, in 
the most intelligible manner, whatever the Greeks 
had taught concerning them. In the execution of 
which design, no Sect could so well serve his turn 
as the NEW ACADEMY, whose principle it was, not 
to interfere with their own opinions : and a passage, 
in his Academic questions, inclines me to think, he 
entered late into this Sect, and not till he had formed 
his project. Varro, one of the dialogists, says to 
him : sed de teipso quid est quod audio ? Tully 
answers : quanam de re ? Varro replies ; relict am 
a te VETEREM JAM, tractan autem NOVAM. Varro 
hints at it again, where, speaking afterwards to Tully, 
he says, tua mnt mine paries, qui ab antiquontm 
ratione NUNC desciscis, < ea, qua ab Arcesila 
novata sunt probas, docere *, c. This further 
appears from a place in his Nature of the Gods f , 
where he says, that his espousing the New Academy 
of a sudden, "was a thing altogether unlooked for. 
Multis etiam sensi mirabile videri, earn nobis potissi- 
mum probatam tsse philosophiam, qua lucem eriperet 
< quasi noctem quondam rebus ojfunderct, deserts- 
que discipline, % jam pridem relict a patrocimum 
NEC OPINATUM a nobis esse susceptum. The change 
then was late; and after the ruin of the Republic; 

* Manutius and Davies, who, I suppose, did not 
attend to what passed before, agree to throw out the 
word mine, as perfectly useless and insignificant. 

f Lib. i. c. 3. 


when Cicero retired from business, and had leisure, 
in his recess, to plan and execute this noble under 
taking. So that a learned Critic appears to have 
been mistaken, when he supposed the choice of the 
New Academy was made in his youth. This Sect 
(says he) did best agree with the vast genius and 
ambitious spirit of YOUNG CICERO *. 

5. But the principal difficulty proceeds from the 
several and various characters he sustained in his 
life, and writings ; which habituated him to feign 
and dissemble his opinions. He may be considered 
as an Orator, a Statesman, and a Philosopher. 
i. As a STATESMAN, he discharged the office of 
a PATRIOT, urbis conservator $ par ens, in a Go 
vernment torn in pieces by the dissensions between 
Senate and People. But could this be done by 
speaking his real sentiments to either ? Both were 
very faulty ; and, as faulty men generally are, too 
angry to hear reason. I have given an instance 
below, in the case of the Catiline conspiracy. And 
the issue of it declares the wisdom of his conduct 
He saved the Republic. 2. As a PHILOSOPHER, 
his end and design in writing was not to deliver his 
own opinion, but to ex plain theGjecianPhilosofhi/. 
On which account he blames those men as too 
curious, who were for knowing his own sentiments. 
In pursuance of this design, he brings in Stoics, 

* Remarks upon a late Discourse of Free-thinking, 
Part IL Rem. 53. 



Epicureans, Platonists, Academics new and old, 
in order to instruct the Romans in their various 
opinions, and several ways of reasoning. But whether 
it be himself or others that are brought upon the 
stage, it is the Academic, not Cicero ; it is the Stoic, 
the Epicurean, not Balbus nor Velleius, who deliver 
their opinions, 3. As an ORATOR, he was an 
Advocate jbr his client, or more properly personated 
him. Verum etiam (says Quintilian) in his causis 
quibus advocamur, eadem differentia diligenter est 
eustodienda. Utiinur emmjictione personarwn, et 
velut ore alieno loquimur. In this case, then, he 
was to speak the sentiments of his client, not his 
own. So that in all these cases, though he acted 
neither a weak nor an unfair part, he becomes totally 
inscrutable. For these were Characters, all equally 
personated: and no one more the real man than the 
other : but each of them taken up, and laid down, 
for the occasion. This appears from the numerous 
inconsistencies we find in him, throughout the course 
of his sustaining them. In his oration de Harusp. 
respon. in senate, when the popular superstition was 
inflamed by present prodigies, he gives the highest 
character of the wisdom of their Ancestors, as 
Founders of their established Religion : " Ego vero 
" primum habeo auctores ac magistros religionurn 
V colendarum majores nostros : quorum mihi tanta 
" fuisse sapientia videtur, ut satis superque pru- 
* dentes sint, qui illorum prudentiam, non dicam 
" assequi, seel, quanta fuerit, perspicere possint" 
13 Yet 


Yet in his treatise of Laws, as the reader has seen 
above *, he frankly declares, that the folly of their 
Ancestors had suffered many depravities to be 
brought into Religion. Here the Philosopher con 
futed the Statesman : As, in another instance, the 
Statesman seems to have got the better of the Phi 
losopher. He defends the paradoxes of the Stoics 
in a philosophical dissertation : But in his oration 
for Marina, he ridicules those paradoxes with the 
utmost freedom. Nor under one and the same 
Character, or at one and the same time, is he more 
consistent. In the orations against Catiline, when 
he opens the conspiracy to the Senate, he represents 
it as the most deep-laid design, which had infected 
all orders and degrees of men in the City. Yet, 
when he brings the same affair before the People, he 
talks of it as only the wild and senseless escape of 
a few desperate wretches ; it being necessary for 
his purpose, that the Senate and People, w ho viewed 
the Conspiracy from several stations, should see it 
in different lights. 

We meet with numbers of the like contradictions, 
delivered in his own person, and under his philoso 
phic character. Thus, in his books of divination, 
he combats all augury, &c. and yet, in his philoso- 


phic treatise of laws, he delivers himself in their 
favour ; and in so serious and positive a manner, 
that it is difficulfTrot to believe him in earnest. In 
a word, he laughed at the opinions of State, when 
* See Book II. sect, 6, 

-Vot.IIJ. I be 

he was amongst the Philosophers ; he laughed at 
the doctrines of the Philosophers, when he was 
cajoling an Assembly ; and he laughed heartily at 
both, when withdrawn amongst his friends in a corner. 
Nor, is this the worst part of the story. He hath 
given us no MARK to distinguish his meaning: For, 
in his Academic questions *, he is ready to swear he 
always speaks what he thinks : Jurarem per Jovem 
Deosque penates, me & ardere studio veri reperiendi, 
& ea sentire quiE dicerem | : Yet, in his Nature of 
the Gcds ;];, he has strangely changed his note : 
Qui autem requirunt, quid quaque de re ipsi sen- 
tiamus, curiosius id faciunt quam necesse est. 

If it be asked, then, in which of his writings we 
can have any reasonable assurance of his true sen 
timents ? I reply, scarce in any, but his EPISTLES. 
Nor is this said to evade any material evidence that 
may be found in his other works, in favour of a 
future state of rewards and punishments : on the 
contrary, there are many very glaring instances of 
his disbelief, as far a.s we can hazard a judgment of 
his mind. As in his Offices, which bids the fairest 
of any to come from his heart, he delivers himself 
very effectually against it; as will appear in the 
next section. And in his oration for Cluentius to 
the Judges, he speaks with yet more force on the 
same side of the question : " Nam nunc quidem 

* Lib. iv. sect. 20. 

f See note [X] at the end of this Book. 

J Lib. i. sect. 5. 

" quid 


" quid tandem illi mail mors attulit? nisi forte 
" ineptiis zcfabulis ducirnur, ut existimemus illurn 
" apud inferos impiorum supplicia perferre," &c. 
" Qure si falsa sunt, id quod omncs intdligunt, 
" quid ei tandem aliud mors eripuit praeter sensum 
" doloris ? " 

Nor will most of those passages, which are usually 
brought in support of the opinion, that Tully did 
really believe the immortality of the soul, stand in 
any account against these : Because, as will be 
shewn in the next section, they best agree to a kind 
of Immortality very consistent with a thorough dis 
belief of a future state of rewards and punishments. 
As to the celebrated argument of Plato, for the 
immortality of the soul, explained and inforced by 
Cicero, it is so big with impiety and nonsense, that 
one would wonder how any Christian Divine could 
have the indiscretion to recommend it as doing credit 
to ancient Philosophy ; or to extol the inventors 
and espousers of it, as having delivered and enter 
tained very just, rational, a /id proper notions con 
cerning the immortality of the human soul. If we 
examine this Philosophy as it is delivered us by 
Plato in his Phasdrus, or as it is translated by Cicero 
in his first Tusculan, we shall find it gives the 
human soul the attributes of the Divine Being, 
and supposes it to have been from eternity, uncre 
ated and self-existent. Speaking of the principle 
of motion, or the soul, it says, principii autem nulla 
est origo : narn e principio oriuntur omnia : ipsura 

I 2 autera 

autem niilla ex re alia nascl pot est : nee enim esset 
id principium quod gigneretur aliunde. Id autem 
ncc nascl potcst, ncc mori.- - -Hsec est propria 
natura animi atque vis; quae si est ima ex omnibus, 
quaB se ipsa semper rnoveat, neque nata certe est, 
et tfterna est. i T-usc. e. 2, 3. It is plain too, that 
this argument assigns the human soul a NECES 
SARY immortality, or an immortality which arises 
from its nature and essence, or from its original and 
inherent powers ; and not from the Will or appoint 
ment of God. We are told that the soul is im 
mortal, because it is a self-moving substance ; for 
that a self-moving substance can never cease to be, 
since it mil always have a power of existing within 
itself, independent of any foreign or external cause. 
And what can be said more of God himself ? sentit 
igitur animus se moveri, quod cum sentit, illud una 
sentit se vi sua, non aliena, mover! ; ncc ac cider e 
posse, ut ipse unquam a se de&cratttr. i Tusc. c. 23. 
Here its immortality is not supposed to arise from 
the influence of any foreign or external cause, but 
is resolved into the natural and inherent powers of the 
soul itself. Plato says, tTrsiK 21 dytw-nlov ^ &JHx<pQogo 

TBTO til zrz aVoAAuo-^t XTS 

auro otvotywi 

yvsa-Qxi Jwojov, 1^ avayxys dyivvtlov rs 
av it*. The necessity here spoken of was supposed 
to arise from an internal faculty and power of the 
soul, or from the principle of self : motion. The 
force of all this, has been shuffled over by the wri- 
ters against the D. L. with only repeating, that, 



Cicero inferred the immortality of the soul from its 
wonderful powers and faculties, on its principle of 
self-motion, its memory, invention, wit and compre 
hension. As to self-motion, the word is equivocal, 
and may either signify the power given to a being 
to begin motion ; or a power inherent^ and essential 
to a Being, who has all things within itself, and 
receives nothing from without. Now we have 
shewn, that Plato and his followers used selmotion, 
when applied to the soul, in this latter sense ; and 
from thence inferred a NECESSARY immortt .lity^ in 
that Being which had it, an immortality which im 
plied increation and self-existence. As to the other 
powers and faculties of memory, invention, wit and 
comprehension, whatsoever immortality may he logi 
cally deduced from them, it is not that which Cicero 
deduces : For, as we see, his is a strict and proper 
immortality, an existence from all eternity, to all 
eternity: In a word, the immortality of the Supreme 
Being himself. Si cernerem (says Tally) quemad- 
modum nasci possent [facilitates animi] etiam quem- 
admodum interirent viderern. i Tusc. c. 24. And 
again, when he proves the immortality of the soul 
against Pansetius, he .goes upon the principle that 
the soul cannot be shewn to be immortal, but on the 
supposition of its being actually ungenerated. Volt 
enim [Panaetius] quod nemo negat, quicquid natinn 

sit interire ; nasci autem animos, quod declaret 

corum similitudo nihil necessitatis adfert cur nas- 
catur, aniaii similitudo. i Tusc. c. 32, 33. I would 

j 3 therefore 

therefore have the friends of REASON, not to say 
of REVELATIOX, consider whether these extravagant 
notions of the human soul, do any honour to ancient 
Philosophy ? and whether Tully had not acted a 
more decent and modest part, to have held consist 
ently, even with Epicurus, the mortality of the soul, 
than widi Plato, that it was uncreated, self -existent, 
and necessarily eternal ? 

It is only then (as we say) in his EPISTLES to his 
friends, where we see the man divested of the Poll* 
tician, the Sophist, and the Advocate : And there 
he professes his disbelief of a future state of rewards 
and punishments in the frankest and freest manner. 
To L. Mescinius he says : " Sed ut ilia secunda 
" moderate tulimus, sic hanc non sol urn adversam, 
" sed funditus eversarn fortunam fortiter ferre debe- 
" mus ; ut hoc saltern in maximis malis boni con- 
" scquamur, ut mortem, quam etiani beati contern- 
" nere debeamus, propterea quod NULLUM SENSUM 
" esset habitura, nunc sic aifecti, non modo con- 
" temnere debeamus, sed etiam optare *." In his 
epistle to Torqnatus, he says : " Ita enim vivere 
" ut non sit vivendum, miscrrimum est. Mori autem 
<c nemo sapiens miserum dixit, ne beato quidem 
" sed haec consolatio levis est ; ilia gravior, qua te 
" uti spero: Ego certe utor. Nee enim DUM ERO, 
" angar ulla re, cum omni vacern culpa : Et si 
" NON ERO, sensu oi inino carebo )." Some have 
taken the ero and non ero, in this passage, to relate 

* Tarn. Ep.l. v. Ep. 21, t Lib. vi. Ep. 3. 



generically, to existence or non-existence absolutely; 
and not, as Tully certainly meant it, specifically, to 
the state of existence or non-existence here, i. e. Itfe 
or death. But if that were his meaning, that if he 
had no being he should have no sense, Torquatus, for 
so wonderful a discovery, might well have returnee 
him his proverb, quoted in this Epistle, ?x< 
A9iW. On the contrary, his meaning in all these 
passages is that he should have no sense, because he 
should have no being. So in his Tuscul. 1. i. c. 1 1. 
Quomodo igitur, aut cur, mortem malum tibi videri 
dicis; quse aut beatos nos efticiet, animis manen- 
tibus; aut non miseros, scnsu carentes, i.e. anwns 
non manentibus. But the foregoing passage from 
the epistle to Mescinius, in which we find the same 
thought, and in the same expression, puts the mean 
ing out of doubt. Add to this, that it was the very 
language of the Epicureans, and used by Lucretius 
as an antidote against the fear of death, 
" Scilicet baud nobis quidquam, qui NON ERiMUstum, 
" Accidere omnino potcrit SENSUMQUE movere/ 
But let it be observed, that when Cicero talks of 
.death as of the end of man, he does not make this 
..conclusion on the Epicurean principle, that the sou 
was a mere quality, but on the Platonic, that it was 
resolved into the substance from whence it was ex 
tracted, and had no longer a particular existence. 
Again to the same person* he says; 
* Lib. vi. Ep. 4. 

I 4 ? <l uod 


quod mihi ad consolationem commune tccum est, 
si jam vocer ad exitum vitae, non ab ea republica 
avellar, qua carendum esse dolearn, pra\sertim cum 
id SINE U^LO SEXSU futurum sit." And again 
to his friend Toranius*: "Cum consilio pronci 
( nihil possit, una ratio videtur, quicquid evenerit, 
ferre moderate, praesertim cum omnium reruin 
mors sit extremism? That Cicero here speaks 
his real sentiments, is beyond all doubt. These are 
letters of consolation, to his friends, when he him 
self, by reason of the ill state of Public Affairs, 
much wanted consolation ; a season when men have 

leas Lfe uise > and are most disposed to lay open 
their whole hearts ; 

Nam verse voces turn dernum pectore ab imo 
Ejiciuntur, & eripitur PJERSOXA, manet RES f." 


Here his real sentiments are deliveredj)ositiyely; 
which in his Tusculan disputations he advances only 
hypothetically ; but with a clearness that well com 
ments the conciseness of the foregoing passages. 
M. Video te alte spectare & velle in ccelurn migrare. 
A. Spero fore, ut contingat id nobis. " Sed fac, 

ut isti volunt, animos NON remanere post mortem. 

-M.Mai vero quid affert ista sentcntja? Fac 

f enim sic animum intcrire, ut corpus. Num igitur 

aliq ais dolor, aut omnino post mortem SENSES 

* Lib. vi. Ep. 21. 

| See note [Y] at the end of this Book, 

" in 


fi in corpore est? Nein ammo quidem igitur SEN- 
" sus reinanet, ipse enim nusquam est. Hoc pre- 
" mendurn etiam atque etiam est argumentum, 
" confirmato illo, de quo, si mortales animi sunt, 
" dubitare non possumus, quin tantus interitus in 
" morte sit, ut ne minima quidem suspicio SENSUS 
" relinquatur *." Now, this is the very language 
of the Epicureans, as appears from the following 
words of Pliny : " Post sepulturam alise atque alias 
" manium ambages. Omnibus a supremadie eadem, 
" qua? ante primum : nee magis a morte SENSUS 
" ullus aut corpori aut animne quam ante natalem. 
" Eadem enim vanitas in futurum etiam se pro- 
" pagat, alias immortalitatem anima3, alias trans- 
tl fiorurationem, alias sensum inferis dando, & manes 
" colendo, deumque faciendo, qui jam etiam homo 
<( esse desierit Qua3 (rnalum) ista dementia, 
" iterari vitam morte ? Quaeve genitis quies unquam, 
" si in sublimi SENSUS ANIM^E manetf." 

PLUTARCH was amongst the Greeks, what Cicero 
was amongst the Latins, as far as concerned the 
business of delivering and digesting the various opi 
nions of the Philosophers. In his famous tract of 
SUPERSTITION, he uses their COMMON arms to com 
bat that evil ; and expresses himself with uncommon 
force where he speaks of a future state as an error 
essential to superstition, and what the general voice 
of Reason, interpreted by sound Philosophy, dis- 

* Tusc. Disp. lib. i. c. 34 36. 

t Nat. Hist. lib. vii. c. 55. 


claims. " Death is the final period of our being. 
" But SUPERSTITION says NO. - She stretches 
" out life beyond life itself. Her fears extend further 
" than our existence. She has joined to the idea 
" of death, that other inconsistent idea of eternal 
" life in misery. For when all things come to an 
" end, then, in the opinion of Superstition, they 
" begin to be endless *." -- 

I will beg leave to conclude this section with two 
observations relative to the general argument, i . We 
have just given a passage from the oration for Clu- 
entius, in which, Cicero having ridiculed the popu 
lar fables concerning a future state, he subjoins, if 
these be false, as all men see they are, what hath 
death deprived him of, besides a SENSE o_J>am t f 

* -sTEfa; In .j3/8 wei&ow avQf virus o Savo?- tug OE 

TOV @oov, ^ trwaTfltttroi TV 
hriwiav aQavxruv xj ore wai/slai qsp&yjtotTQy ap%fff6etji 

*[* Quee si falsa sunt, id quod omnes intelligimt, quid 
ci tandem aliud mors eripuit praeter SENSUM doloris? 
Seneca reasons in the same manner. Mors contemni 
debet magis quam solet : multa enim de ilia credimus, 
Mnltorom ingeniis certalum est ad augendam ejus in^ 
famiam. Descriptus est career Lnfernus, 8c perpetua 
jic.cte oppressa regie, in qua 

- " ingens janitor orci," &c. 

Sed etiam cum persuaseris istas fabulas esse, nee quic- 
quam defunctis superesse quod timeant, subit alius metus, 
seque enim tiinor ne apucl inferos sint ; quam ne nusquam. 
Ep. 83. 



From this inference of the Orator, it appears that 
we have not concluded amiss, when, from several 
quotations, interspersed throughout this work, in 
which a disbelief of the common notion of a future 

state of rewards and punishments is implied, we 
have inferred the writer s disbelief of a future state 
of rewards and punishments in general. 2. We 
have seen the Philosophers of every Sect, one while 
speaking directly for, and at another, as directly 
against a future state of rewards and punishments, 
without intimating the least change in their prin 
ciples, or making the least hesitation in their pro 
fessions : So that either we must hold them guilty 
of the most gross and impudent contradictions, 
which their characters will not suffer us to conceive 
of them ; or else admit the explanation given above 
of the DOUBLE DOCTRINE, and the different methods 
of their exoteric and esoteric discipline. 

Yet to all this it hath been said, " If the Philo- 
" sophers disbelieved the popular Divinities, and 
" yet really believed the being of a God; why 
" might they not reject the popular opinions of a 
" future state, and yet, at the same time, hold a 
future state of real rewards and punishments ? 
" Now as they who did not believe Hercules and 
" JEsculapius to be Gods, did not for that reason 
" disbelieve the existence of a governing Mind; so 
" they that did not believe /Eacus or Minos to be 
" judges of Hell, did not for that reason disbelieve 



1 all future rewards and punishments*." I answer, 
the two cases are nothing alike ; the common fate 
of this Writer s Parallels. 

i. At the very time the Philosophers discard the 
popular Divinities, they declare for the bqingj>f a 
Cod. Thus when Varro had said that Hercules 
and /Esculapius, Castor and Pollux, were not Gods; 
he adds, they only have a right notion of God, who 
conceive him to be a Soul, actuating and governing 
all things by his power and wisdorn f. But now, 
when these Philosophers exploded Styx, Acheron, and 
Coc3^tus, did they ever substitute any other future 
state of rewards and punishments in their place? 

2. The Philosophers give the popular stones 
of the infernal regions, as the only foundation and 
support of future rewards and punishments ; so 
that, if they explode the popular stones, they must 
explode the things themselves. And what is more, 

* Dr. Sykes. 

f Quae sunt an tern ilia, quae prolata in multitudinem 
noccrit ? Haec, inquit, non esse Deos Herculem, ^Escu- 
Japium, Castorcm, Pollucem. Proditur enim a doctis, 
quod homines fuerint, et humana conditione defecerint. 
But the same Varro says, Quod hi soli ei videantur 
animadvertisse, quid esset Deus, qui crediderunt eum 
csse animam, motu et ratione mundum gubernantem. 
Apud August, de Civ. Dei, 1. iv. c. 27 3 1. 


this the case concerning their popular Divinities? 
Do they ever represent these as the only foundation 
and support of the belief of a Deity? 

3. Lastly, The Philosophers held a PRINCIPLE 
(arid we are now about to enter upon that matter) 
which was inconsistent with a future state of re 
wards and punishments : in consequence of which, 
they formally, and in express words, disclaim and 
reject all such state and condition. But I know 
of no principle they held, inconsistent with the 
belief ofja God; nor of any declarations they ever 
made against such belief. We conclude, therefore, 
that the two cases are altogether dissimilar and 


NOTWITHSTANDING this full evidence against 
the PHILOSOPHERS; I much doubt, the general 
prejudice in their favour, supported by the reason 
ableness of the doctrine itself, will be yet apt to 
keep the reader s opinion on this point suspended. 

I shall therefore, in the last place, explain the 
CAUSES which withheld the Philosophers from be- 
lieving : and these will appear to have been certain 
fundamental PRINCIPLES of the ancient Greek Phi 
losophy, altogether inconsistent with the doctrine 
of a future state of rewards and punishments. 

But to give this its due force, it will be proper to 
premise, that the constitution of that Philosophy, 


being above measure refined and speculative, it was 
always wont to judge and determine rather on ME 
TAPHYSICAL than on MORAL maxims; and to 
stick to all consequences, how absurd soever, which 
were seen to arise from the former. 

Of this, we have a famous instance in the ancient 
Democritic Philosophy: which holding, that not 
only sensations, but even the cogitations of the mind, 
were the mere passion of the Thinker ; and so, all 
knowledge and understanding, the same thing with 
sense; the consequence was, that there could not 
be any error of false judgment ; because all passion 
was true passion, and all appearance true appear 
ance. From hence it followed, that the sun and 
moon were no bigger than they seemed to us : and 
these men of reason choae rather to avow this con 
clusion, than to renounce the metaphysic principle 
which led them into it. 

So just is that censure which a celebrated French 
writer passes upon them : when the Philosophers 
once besot themselves with a prejudice, they are even 
wore incurable than the People themselves ; because 
they besot themselves not only with the prejudice, but 
with the false reasonings employed to support it *. 

* Quand les philosophes s entetent une fois d un pre- 
juge, ils sont plus incurables que le peuple meine; 
parce qu ils s entetent egalement & du prejuge & des 
fausses raisons dont ils le soutiennent. Fontenelle, Hist, 
des Oracles. 



The regard to metaphysk principles being so great, 
the Greek Philosophers (as we shall see) must needs 
reject the doctrine of a future state of rewards and 
punishments, how innumerable and invincible soever 
the moral arguments are which may be brought to 
support it For now we come to shew, that there 
were two METAPHYSICAL PRINCIPLES concerning 
GOD and the SOUL, universally embraced by all, 
which necessarily exclude.all notion of a future state 
of reward and punishment. 

The FIRST PRINCIPLE, which led the Philoso 
phers to conclude against such a state was, THAT 


ANY ONE. This, Cicero assures us, was held uni 
versally ; as well by those who believed a Provi 
dence, as by those who believed not: At hoc 
" RUM, non eorurn modo, qui Deurn nihil habere 
" ipsum negotii dicunt, & nihil exhibere alteri : sed 
" eorum etiam qui Deum semper agere aliquid & 
" moliri volunt, NUMQ.UAM NEC IRASCI DEUM: 
" NEC NOCERE*." What conclusion the Epicu- 
cureans drew from hence (those who, he here says, 
held, Deum nihil habere ipsum negotii), he tell 
in another place, by the mouth of Velleius their 
spokesman. " Intelligitur eniin" (an expression de 
noting that, in this point, the philosophers were 
agreed) " a beata, immortalique natura, & iram 
" oratiam segregari : quibus remotis, nullos a 

* Offic. lib. iii. cap. 28. 

" s opens 

" superis impendere METUS *." And that the other 
Sects drew the same conclusion (which infers the 
denial of a future state of rewards and punishments) 
we shall now see by Cicero himself, who speaks 
for them all. 

He is here commending Regulus for preferring 
the public good to his own, and the honest to the 
profitable ; in dissuading the release of the Cartha 
ginian prisoners, and returning back to certain 
misery, when he might have spent his age at home 
in peace and pleasure. All this, he observes, was 
done out of regard to his oath. But it may, perhaps* 
says he, be objected, what is there in an oath ? 
The violator need not fear the wrath of Heaven ; 
| for all Philosophers hold, that God cannot be angry 
nor hurt any one. He replies, that, indeed, it was 
# consequence of the principle of God s not being 
angry, that the perjured man had nothing to fear 
from divine vengeance : but then it was not this 
fear, which was really NOTHING, but justice and 
good faith, which made the sanction of an oath. 

The learned will chuse to hear him in his own words. 

" M. Atilius Regulus Carthaginem rediit: neque 

" eum caritas patrire retinuit, nee suorum. Neque 

" vero turn ignorabat se ad crudelissimum hostem, 

" & ad exquisita supplicia proficisci : Sed jus- 

" jurandum conservandum putabat. Quid est igi- 

" tur, dixerit quis, in jurejurando ? Nurn iratum 

" timemus jovem? At hoc quideui commune 

* De Nat. Deor. 1, i. c. 17. 

" est 


" est omnium philosophorum. NUMQUAM NEC 
" ratio non magis contra Regulum, quani contra 
" omne jusjurandum valet : Sed in jurejurando, 
" non qui metus, sed quas vis sit, debet intelligi. 
" Est enim jusjurandum affirmatio religiosa : Quod 
" autem affirmate, quasi Deo teste, promiseris, id 
" tenendum est : Jam enim non ad iram Deorum, 
" quag NULL A EST ; sed ad justitiam & ad finem 
" pertinet *." It is true, the same Tully says f , 
" deos placatos pietas efficiet et sanctitas," which 
looks as if he thought the Gods might be angry ; 
and that, therefore, by qu<z nulla est., in the words 
above, he did not mean, what the words imply, 
qua vana et cowmentitia est ; but, what they do 
not imply quci nlhil ad rcm pertinet. Bu t placatos 
is not here used in the strict specific sense of ap 
peased, which inters preceding anger ; but in the 
more loose generic sense of propitious, which infers 
no such thing. And my reason for understanding 
the word in this sense, is, that, two_ or three lines 
afterwards, he declares it to be the opinion of the 
Philosophers (to which he agrees) Deos non nocere : 
But this opinion was founded on that other, in 
question, Deos non irasci. 

Here then, we see, Tully owns the consequence 
of this universal principle; that it overthrew the 
notion of divine punishments : And it will appear 

* Cap. 26, 27, 28, 29. f Offic. ii. 3. 

VOL. III. K presently, 


presently, that he was no^singular in this concession; 
but spoke the sense of his Grecian masters. 

A modern reader, full of the philosophic ideas of 
these late ages, will he surprised, perhaps, to be 
told, that this consequence greatly embarrassed 
Antiquity ; when he himself can so easily evade it, 
by distinguishing between the human passions of 
anger and fondness, and the divine attributes of 
justice and goodness ; on which the doctrine of a 
future state of rewards and punishments is invin 
cibly established. But the ancients had no such 
precise ideas of the divine Nature. 

Dacier, who understood the genius of Antiquity 
very well, was of the same opinion, as appears 
from his comment on these words of Antoninus 
If there be Gods, then leaving the world is no such 
dreadful thing ; for you may be sure they uill do 
you no , harm a p\v -9W tl<r, aVb $wfo xaxj 
yap <rf ijx av T&tpi&ct,Xoiev. Comme les Stoiciens 
mivoient aucune idee ni de peines, ni de recom 
penses eternelles apres la mort, et que le plus grand 
caractere qn ils reconnoissoient en Dieu, estoit une 
BONTE INFJNIE, ils cstoient persuadez qu apres 
cette vie on n avoit rien a craindre, et que c estoit 
une chose entierement opposee a la nature de Dieu, 
de faire du mal. La veritable religion a tire les 
homtnes d une securite si pernicieuse, &c. The 
learned Critic, indeed, expresses himself very ill, 
confounding the premisses and conclusion, the cause 
and effect, all the way, one with another; but his 



meaning is plain enough, that (in his opinion) the 
Ancients were very inexpert in their attempts to 
sever (if ever they attempted it) anger from God s 
justice, w\A fondness from his goodness. We shall 
shew, by an illustrious instance, that he was not 
mistaken ; lest the reader should suspect that, of 
an obscure speculative Principle, we have feigned 
one of general credit and influence. 

LACTANTIUS, from a forensic Lawyer, now be 
come an Advocate for Christianity, found nothing 
so much hindered its reception with the Learned, 
as the doctrine of a FUTURE JUDGMENT ; which, 
their universal principle, that God could not be 
angry, directly opposed. To strike at the root of 
this evil, he composed a discourse, which Jerom 
calls, pulcherrimum opus, intitled, BE IRA DEI : 
For lie had observed, he tells us, that this Princi 
ple vvas now much spread amongst the common 
People * ; he lays the blame of it upon the Philo 
sophers f ; and tells us, as Tully had done before, 
that all the Philosophers agreed to exclude the . 
passion of anger from the Godhead . 

So that the general syllogism, Lactantius pro 
posed to answer, was this : 

If God hath no affections of fondness or hatred, 

love or anger ; he cannot reward or punish. 
But he hath no affections ; Therefore, S^c. 

* Animadvert! PLURIMOS existimare non irasci Deum. 
f lidem tarnen a Philosophis irretiti, &falsis argumen- 
tationibus capti. 

% Ita omnes Philosophide ira consentiunt. 

K 2 


let us see then, how he manages : For although; 
his knowledge in the true genius of Christianity 
was, perhaps, very imperfect, he was exquisitely 
well skilled in the strong and weak side of Pagan 
Philosophy. A modern answerer would certainly 
have denied the major ; but that was a Principle 
received by all parties, as Laetantius himself gives 
us to understand, when he says, that the Principle 
of God s not being angry destroyed^ all religion, 
by taking away a future state *. He had nothing 
left then but to deny the minor : And this, he tell? 
us, is his purpose to undertake \. 

His business is to prove, that God hatb human 
passions : And though, by several expressions, drop 
ped up and down, lie seems to be fully sensible of 
the grossness of this Principle; yet, on the other 
hand, all Philosophy agreeing to make it the ne 
cessary support of a liiture state, he sets upon his 
task in good earnest, avoids all refinements, and 
maintains that there are in God, as there are in 
man, the passions of loi c and hatred. These in 
deed are of two kinds in man, reasonable and 
unreasonable ; in God, the reasonable only are to be 
found. But, to make all sure, and provide a proper 
subject for these passions, he contends strongly 

* Qui sine ira Deum esse credentes, dissolvimt omnern 
religionem Sive igitur gratiam Deo, sive iram, sive- 
utrtimque detraxeris, religionem tolli necesse est. . 

f Ha?c [nempe ut irascatur Deus] tuenda nobis, 8c 
asserenda seritentia est : in ca enim summa omnis & 

cardo relisionis pietatisque versatur*. 



for God s having a "human form : No discreditable 
notion, at that time, in the Church ; and which, if 
I might be indulged a conjecture, I would suppose, 
was first introduced for that very purpose, to which 
Lactantius here enforces it. 

But it is very observable, that our Author in- 
troduceth this monstrous notion of God s having 
a human form, with an artful attempt, supported 
by all his eloquence, to discredit human reason , 
in order to dispose the Reader to believe him, that 
nothing could be known of God but by Revelation: 
This is an old trick of the Disputers of ail times, 
to make reprisals upon Reason; which when found 
too upright to deflect, must be represented as too 
weak to judge. And when once we find an Author, 
who would be valued for his logic, begin with de 
preciating Reason ; we may be assured he has some 
very unreasonable paradox to advance. So when 
the learned Huetius would pass upon his readers 
a number of slight chimerical conjectures for De 
monstrations, he introduces his work by cavilling at 
the certainty of the principles of Geometry, 

I. Here we see how the Orthodox evaded this 
conclusion of Pagan Philosophy, against a state 
of future punishment. Would you know how the 
Heretics managed ? They went another way to 
work, which it may be just worth while to mention. 
The Creator of the invisible world (or the first 
Cause) the Marcionites called the GOOD; and the 

K 3 Creator 


Creator of the visible world, the JUST. Si de 
Marcionis argueris hasresi, quae alterum bonum, 
alteruni justum Deum ferens, ilium invisibilium, 
hunc yisibilium creatorem Hieron. Ep. ad Pam- 
mach. Now they agreed in this, with the Pagans, 
that the GOOD could not punish, but that the 
JUST would ; whose office it was to execute ven 
geance on the wicked. And, at the same time, 
holding an EVIL PRINCIPLE, they called this Just, 
the MIDDLE, whose office is thus described in the 
dialogue against Marcion To those who conform 
themselves to the GOOD, the MIDDLE PRINCIPLE 
gives peace ; but to those who obey the EVIL, the 
MIDDLE inflicts tribulation and anguish. H w pi<n 
K^XP vTM68<rt TW ayaOw avtrw J*cta<n7, U5Tjxo8<ri St TU 
zsroi/n^w S^iiJ/ii/ tf/&W*. Thus did these Heretics divest 
the first Cause, or the GOOD, of his attribute of 
justice ; and gave it to the Middle Principle, be 
cause they were not able to sever it from anger. 
Upon the whole, as Lactautius, himself a Philoso 
pher, was admirably well versed in all the pagan 
Systems, lie could not but understand a Principle^ 
which all the Philosophers held ; nor coulql he 
mistake a Consequence, which they all drew from it. 
And as St. Jerom has dignified this tract de ira Dei, 
with the title of PULCHERRIMUM OPUS, we must 
Deeds conclude that the method. Lactantius took to 
support a future judgment was strictly conformable 
to THE OLD POSTURE OF DEFENCE, and approved 
by the Orthodox of that time. 

I. But 


I. But it may be objected, perhaps, that this 
principle, of God s not being angry, only concluded 
against a future state of punishments, and not of 
rewards : Many of the philosophers holding the 
affection of grace and favour ; though they all 
denied that of anger ; as Lactantius expressly as 
sures us : Ita omnes philosophi dc ira consentiunt, 
de gratia discrepant. To this I reply, 

i. That, when the sanction of punishment is 
taken off, the strongest influence of a future state 
is destroyed. For while the Ancients made the 
rewards of Elysium only temporary, 
"Has omnes, ubi millerotam volvere per annos,"&c v 
they made the punishments of Tartarus eternal ; 

" Sedet, aeternumque sedebit 
Infelix Theseus." - - - 

This, Plato teaches in several places of his works *. 
And Celsus is so far from rejecting it, that he ranks it 
in the number of those doctrines which should never 
be abandoned, but maintained to the very lastf. 

av oaw 

yoAof, i tpov%$ axzs x isapavoux; 
cra. Tvl%avei ovlat rciauriX 
e/j TOV TaflagoVj oQev xvrols 
Phaedo, p. 113. -AMci dsovietvlau ol raraj o^wv/Ef & 

otti x,?ovav. Gorgias, p. 525. 

f 4 Taro ( ys QgQ$ voptl^sffiv^ u$ ol (tsv 
nv, ol <$E adiKoi TsafiTrav aiMiois KOLYMC, ffWE^ovlcu. rara Tif 

Apud Orig. cont. Cels. lib. viii. 

K4 It 

It is true, that several passages of Antiquity 
may be objected to what is here said against th$ 
eternity of rewards; particularly this of Cicero; 
Omnibus qui patriain conservariiit, adjuverint, 
auxerint, certumesse in coeloac definitum locum, 
" ubi beati JEVO SEMPITERXO fruantur*." But 
we are to know, that the Ancients distinguished 
the souls of men into three species : the HUMAN, 
the HEROIC, and the DEMONIC. The two last, 
when they left the body, were indeed believed to 
enjoy eternal happiness, for their public services on 
earth ; not in Elysium, but in Heaven ; where they 
became a kind of demi-gods. But all, of the first,. 
which included the great body of Mankind, were 
understood to have their designation in Purgatory, 
Tartarus, or Elysium ; The first and last of which 
abodes were temporary ; and the second only eternal. 
Now those who had greatly served their Country, 
in the manner Tally there mentions, were supposed 
to have souls of the heroic or demonic kind f. 

2. But secondly, in every sense of a future state 
as a moral designation, rewards and punishments 
necessarily imply each other : So that where one is 
wanting, the other cannot possibly subsist. This 
was too visible not to be seen by the ancient Phi- 

* Somn. Scip. cap. 3. 

f Eusebius, speaking of the political Gods of Egypt, 
supports what is here delivered of those heroic or demonic 
souls, aXteg $1 IK TXTUV ETTiyeiug ytysfffa^ fcuriv, vTra^avtas /ttev 
SwjJaf, Sia 2s <rvvt<Tiv >cj KOIVYIV avfytuTruv ivtfoulow TeIsu%c>Ta$ T>?$ 
A0ANA2IA2. Praep. Evang. 1. iii. c. 3. 

losophers : 


losophers: Laetantius thus argues with them, on 
common principles. " If God be not provoked at 
" impious and wicked men, neither is he pleased with 
" the good and just. For contrary objects must 
" either excite contrary affections, or no affections 
" at all. So that he who loves good men, must at 
" the same time hate the ill ; and he who hates not 
" ill men, cannot love the good : Because both to 
" love good men proceedeth from an abhorrence 
" of ill ; and to hate ill men from a tenderness to 
" the good*." And so concludes, that the denying 
God s attribute of anger,, which removes \h punish 
ments of a future state, overturns the state itself. 
" Sive igitur gratiam Deo, sive iram, sive utrumque 
" detraxeris, religionem tolli necesse est." 

In all this (as we say) he does not in the least 
misrepresent the common conclusions of Philosophy. 
Plutarch delivering the sentiments of learned Anti- 


quity on this head, expressly makes the denial of 
future misery, to infer the denial of a future state. 
" Death is the final period of our being. But Su- 
" perstition says, no. She stretches out life beyond 
" life itself. Her fears extend further than our 

* Si, Deus non irascitur impiis & injustis, ncc pios 
utique jus.tosque diligit : In rebus entin diversis, aut in 
ntramque partein moveri riecesse est, aut in neutram. 
Itaque qui bonos diligit, & malos odit ; Sc qui malos non 
edit, nee bonos diligit: Quia & diligere bonos, ex-odio 
jnalorum venitj.Sy malos odisse, ex bonorum caritate 
Descend it. 

" existence. 


existence. She has joined to the idea of death, 

1 that other inconsistent idea of eternal life in 

1 misery. For when all things come to an, end, 

then, in the opinion of Superstition, they begin to 

be endless. Then, I can t tell what, dark and 

dismal gates of Tartarus % open : then, rivers 

of fire, with all the fountains of Styx, are broken 

1 up, &c. Thus doth cursed Superstition oppose 

< the voice of God, which hath declared death to 

6 be the end of suffering*." Death, says he, is 

the end of suffering, therefore the aid of being. 

Gnly with the Sr^w -sr^rt^ of the rhetoricians he 

has here, in the most rhetorical of all his discourses, 

put the conclusion before the premisses. 

3- But lastly, I shall shew (under the next head, 
to which we are going) that the Philosophers did 
not consider the attribute of grace and favour 
(which they allowed) to be a passion or affection; 
though they considered anger (which they allowed 
not) under that idea. 

II. As the foregoing objection would insinuate 
that the universal Principle of God s not being 
angry, doth not prove enough; so, the next pre 
tends, that it proves too much : For, secondly, it 
may be objected, that this principle destroys God s 


TO w aa&siv exsrfpH/yr. . De Superst. 


Providence here, as well as a future state of rewards 
and punishments hereafter ; which Providence se 
veral of the theistical Philosophers, we know, did 

This will require consideration. 

Lactantius says : "All the Philosophers agree 
41 about the anger ; but concerning the grace or 
" favour they are of different opinions *." And 
taking it for granted, that they considered the grace 
or favour, which they held, as well as the auger, 
which they denied, to be a passion or affection, he 
argues against them as above : and adds, " There- 
" fore the error of those who take away both grace 
" and anger is the most consistent!." But mc- 
thinks, the absurdity of the error here imputed, 
should have taught Lactantius, that the Philoso 
phers, who had rejected anger because it was an 
human passion, could never give their GoA favour 
or fondness, which is another human passion : For 
though they sometimes dogmatized like lunatics, 
they never syllogized like idiots ; though their prin 
ciples were often unnatural, their conclusions were 
rarely illogical. He should therefore have seen, 
that those, who held the gratia or benevolence of 
the divine Nature, considered it not as a passion or 

* Omnes philosophi de ira consentiunt, de gratia 

f Ergo constantior est error illorum, qui 8c iram simul, 
& gratiam tollunt. 


affection, but as an efflux from its essence* : on 
which they built tiieir notion of a general Provi 
dence. So that when he says, concerning the grace 
or favour, they arc of different opinions, we are 
to understand no more, than that some of them 
held a Providence, and others denied it. 

Let us see then what kind of Providence the 
theistical Philosophers believed. The PERIPA 
TETICS and STOICS went pretty much together 
in this matter. It is commonly imputed to Aristotle, 
that he held no Providence to be extended lower 
than the moon : But this is a calumny which 
Chalcidias raised of him. What Aristotle meant 
by the words, which gave a handle to it, was that 
a particular providence did not extend itself to in 
dividuals : For being a fatalist in natural things, and 
at the same time maintaining free-will in man, he 
thought, if Providence were extended to individuals, 
it would either impose a necessity on human actions, 
or, as employed on mere contingencies, be itself fre 
quently defeated ; which would look like impotency : 
and not seeing any way to reconcile free-will and pre 
science, he cut the knot, and denied that Providence 
extended its care over individuals. Zeno s notion of 
Providence, seems to have been as loose f , yet his 
* See the following quotation from Sallust the phi 

t Cotta, in Cieero, explaining the doctrine of the 
Stoics, says, Non carat [Dens] singulos homines. Non 
mirum, ne civitates quidem. Non eas ? Ne nationcs 
quideu et gentes. N. D. iii. 39. 

1 fatalism 


fatalism was more uniform: and, indeed, better sup 
ported, for he denied free-will in man : Which was 
the only difference in this matter between him and 

Here we have a Providence very consistent with 
a disbelief of a future state of rewards and punish 
ments ; nay, almost destructive of it. 

not be put off so: They held a particular Provi 
dence, extending itself to Individuals : A Providence, 
which, according to ancient notions, could not be 
administered without the affections of kvc and 
anger. Here then lies the difficulty : These Sects 
removed all passions from the Godhead, especially 
anger; and, on that account, rejected a future state 
of rewards and punishments ; while yet they believed 
a Providence, which was administered by the exer 
cise of those very passions. For the true solution 
of this difficulty, we must have recourse to a pre 
vail in* principle of Paganism, often before hinted 
at, for the clearing up many obscurities in Antiquity: 
I mean, that of local tutelar Deities. Pythagoras 
and Plato were deep in the Theology which taught, 
that the several regions of the earth were delivered 
over, by the Creator of the Universe, to the vice- 
gerency and government of inferior Gods. This 
opinion was originally Egyptian ; on whose authority 
these two Philosophers received it ; though it had 
been long the popular belief all over the pagan 
world, tjence, we see the writings of the Pytha 

goreans and Platonists so full of the DOCTRINE OF 
DEMONS: A doctrine, which even characterized 
the Theology of those Sects. Now, these Demons 
were ever supposed to have passions and affections. 
On these principles and opinions the Greeks formed 
the name of that mixed moral mode, SUPERSTITION : 
they called it <WiJaj/A<ma, which signifies the fear 
of Demons or inferior Gods. And these being sup 
posed, by the Philosophers, to have passions ; and 
a Species, or at least one of them (called, by the 
people, THE ENVIOUS DEMON) to be more than 
ordinary capricious and cruel in the exercise of the 
passions, these notions gave birth to all the extra 
vagant Kites of atonement * : the practice of which, 
as we say, they called JW i$oe,^Qvi ; intimating, in 
the very term, the passion which gave birth to them; 
and by which alone, the Ancients understood a par 
ticular Providence could be administered. And 
here it is worthy our observation, that Chalcidias 
gives this as the very reason why the Peripatetics 
rejected a particular Providence, (he says indeed, 
though falsely, all Providence below the moon) 
namely, because they held nothing of the admini 
stration of inferior Deities. His words are these : 
" Aristotle holds, that the providence of God 
" descends even to the region of the moon : but 
" that, below that orb, tilings were neither governed 
" by the decrees of God, nor upheld by the wis- 
" clom and aid of Angels. Nor does he suppose 

* See note [Z] at the end of this Book. 

" any 


" any providential intervention of Demons *." So 
closely united, in the opinion of this writer, whom 
Fabricius calls gnarissimus vet era philosophic f, was 
the doctrine of a particular Providence, and the 
doctrine of Demons and subaltern Deities. 

But when now the Soul is disengaged from the 
body, it is no longer, in their opinion, under the 
government of Demons ; nor consequently subject 
to the effects of the Demonic passions. And what 
becomes of it then, we shall see hereafter. A re 
markable passage in Apuleius,will explain and justify 
the solution here given : " God (saith this author) 
" cannot undergo any temporary exercise of his 
" power or goodness : And therefore cannot be 
" affected with indignation or anger; cannot be 
" depressed with grief, or elated with joy. But, 
" being free from all the passions of the mind, he 
" neither sorrows nor exults ; nor makes atiyimtan- 
" taneous resolution to act, or to forbear acting. 
" Every thing of this kind suits only the middle 
if nature of the Demons: For they are placed 
" between Gods and Men; as well in the frame 
" and composition of their minds, as in the situation 
Ji of their abodes, having immortality in common 

* Aristoteles Dei providentiam usque ad lunae regio- 
nem progredi censet; infra vero neque providentiae seitis 
regi, nee angelorum ope consultisque sustentari : nee 
vero Daemonum prospicientiam putat intervenire. Conj, 
in Platonis Timseum. 

f Bibl. Lat. 1. iii. c. 7. 

" with 

" with the former, and affections in common with 
<c the latter. For they are subject, like us, to be 
" every way irritated and appeased ; so as to be 
" inflamed by anger, melted by compassion, allured 
" by gifts, softened by prayers, exasperated by ne- 
" gleet, and soothed again by observance. In a 
" word, to be affected by every thing that can make 

6 impression on the human mind *." Plutarch says 
the same thing, but with this remarkable addition, 
that it was the very doctrine of PLATO and PYTHA 
GORAS f . 


-Debet Deus nullam perpeti vel opens vel arnoris 
temporalem perfunctionem ; & idcirco nee indignatione 
nee ira contingi, nullo angore contrahi, itulla alacritate 
gestire: sed ab omnibus passionibus animi liber, nee 
(tolere unquam, nee aliquando laetari, nee aliquid repen- 
tinum vclle vel nolle. Sed & haec cuncta, ut id genus 
caetera, Daemonum mediocritati congruuut. Sunt enim 
inter homines & deos, ut loco regionis, ita ingenio mentis 
intersiti, habentes communem cum su peris immortal i- 
tatem cum inieris passionem. Nam perinde ut nos, pati 
possunt omnia animorum placamenta vel incitamenta ; 
ut & ira incitentur, & misericordia flectantur, & donis 
invitentur, & precibus leniantur, & eontumeliis exas- 
perentur, & honoribus mulceantur, aliisque omnibus, ad 
similem ncbis modum varientur. De Deo Socratis. 

j- B&nov zv ol tot. inef)} rov Tutpuvat y^ "Oriftv. y^ v lffiv IrQexptva, 
pnTE MV vsaSwalat, WTS a,tyu7rw* otMa AAIMONUN MEFA- 
AHN iivou vopigwles, u$ ^ riAATUN, ^ nYxTOPAS, ^ 
xj XfVffixTr", 7roptvoi ra; IIAAAI EOAOrOTS, 
s (Jtlv avQfUKuv ysiovkvau Asyscri, xj tsofaf, TY\ Iwstpu ruv 


On the whole then it appears, that the Principle 
of God s not being angry, which subverted the doc 
trine of a future state of rewards and punishments, 
did not at all affect a particular Providence here ; 
and that the grace or favour which some of them 
left unto the Deity was no passion or affection, like 
the anger, which they took away ; but only a simple 
benevolence, which, in the construction of the Uni 
verse, was directed to the best ; but did riot interfere 
to prevent disorders in particular Systems. A be 
nevolence too, that went not from the will, but the 
essence of the Supreme Being*. 

SALLUST, the Philosopher, writing of the Gods 
and the World, proposes in his fourteenth chapter, 
to speak to this question, how the immutable Gods 
may be said to be angry and appeased f . In the 


TO 3e $tbv ax a/wxE?; 3s axpalov 

xj isovov wee Toii>Tai$ fyfmpsva roi 
JjT/ov h^oforiff yivsvlcu 

i xj xax/a;. De Is. & Os. p. 642. 

* So Seneca informs us : Qune causa est Diis bene 
facieudi? NATURA. Errat, siquis putat illos nocere 
velle: Non possimt. Nee accipere injuriam queunt, 
nee facere; lacdere etenim laedique conjunctum est, 
Summa ilia ac pulcherrima omnium natura, quos peri- 
ulo exemit, ncc periculos quidem fecit. Ep. 95. 



first pfade, he says, th<at God hath ito hirrrian 
passion s ; he it&t her rejoices, is (tngry, iftff appetised 
trrfh -gifts * : So far is certamly agreeabl e to ttutti. 
But hofr then? Why, the Gbds are eternally t/c- 
rieficcnt (that is, as Seneca says bteloty causa Dife 
tericfa ctendi NA^RA) and beneficent only, arid 
never hurtitil f. Thus havtttg avoi de d one extrenre , 
he fails Wto aiibfher ; aWd s^pposeth it to be blind 
Nature, and not // /: ///, which d etermineS G6d $ 
ben encence. The inference from which is, that the 
rewards arrd punishments of Heaveti are the iuttufal 
and necessary effects (if bktioftk; not positive, tirhi- 
trary comeqiteilcc s, or the deWgnatwn df tt lll: 
And so our Philosopher itiainta h is. For now the 
difficulty being, that if Nature be the came of t/te 
beneficence of : tlt% Godhead, libw can PrOvidencfe 
Bestow good on the virtuous man, and evil on th$ 
wicked? Our Sophist resolves it thus : " Wlate we 
4i are good, we are joined by similitude of nature 
" to the Crcnis ; and when evil, sejTar atiid by dissi- 
% iiiilitude. While we practise virtue, we arc in 
" iriiion with them ; htit defection to vice makes 
" tliem our eneitiies ; not because they are angry 
< at tis, but because our crimes interpose between 
" us and their divine irradiations, and leave us a 
" prey to the avenging Demons. -So that to sav, 
11 God is turned away from the wicked, is the same 

* Ou %oui 0iQ$ 3$e ogyifHai u$s dufotg SsgaKevslzi. 
f* EXEIVOI fiEv ayzGo TF sifiv AEi> 



" as to say, THE SUN is HID FROM A BLIND 
" MAN *." Ah apt comparison : and very ex- 
p ressive of the principle of this philosophy; which 
supposes the influence of the Deity, to be like that 
of the Sun, physical and necessary; and, conse 
quently, all reward and punishment not the moral, 
but the natural, issue of things : A Platonic notion, 
entirely subversive of the proper doctrine of a 
future state of rewards and punishments, as con 
ceived every where by the people, and taught by 
the Christian Religion : which holds, that they 
arise out of God s Goodness and Justice, not by 
way of emanation, as light from the Sun, but as the 
designation of Will: which disparts freely, though 
not fancifully or capriciously ; as, with equal malig 
nity and folly, my reasoning in this place hath been 

On the whole, then, we find, that the Pagans in 
taking away human passions from God, left him 
nothing but that kind of natural excellence, which 
went not from his ! att7/, but his essence only; and 
consequently, was destitute of morality. This was 
one extreme. The primitive Fathers (as Lactantius) 


Oj 3s yg/Qftevot 3i* avofMiorifia X<8ftQ(&$f xj *<%T apcra^ ZSvlsb 
rSiv Sv, xaxoi 3f yewfAtvoi ex,Qf>x$ Y^V -aroiS^i Exeivi?? xx. 
www ooyiZopsvw, aMa TKV otjAStfottaruv 85 ^gy jj/wiV XK kcovluv 
Aalftitefi 5g wbariKdis waTflwtav. ore O/JLOICV toy 
, ^ rev HAION roij S 



understanding clearly that the Platonic notion of 
God overturned & future judgment, and not finding 
the medium, which their Masters in Science, the 
Philosophers, had missed, supposed (as we have 
seen) that God had human passions. This was the 
other extreme. And whence, I would ask, did both 
these extremes arise, but from neither party s being 
able to distinguish between human passions and the 
divine attributes of GOODNESS AND JUSTICE? the 
true medium between human passions on the one 
hand, and a blind excellence of nature, on the other. 

II. I proceed now to the OTHER CAUSE, which 
kept the Philosophers from believing a future state 
of rewards and punishments. As the first was an 
erroneous notion concerning the nature of GOD, so 
this was a much more absurd one concerning th 
nature si the SOUL. For, as our epic Poet sings, 
" Much of the SOUL they talk, butall awry *." 
There are but two possible ways of conceiving 
of the Soul : we must hold it to be, -either a QUA 

1. Those Ancients who believed it to be only 
a Quality, as Epicurus, Dicasarchus, Aristoxenus, 
Asclepiades, and Galen, come not into the account ; 
it being impossible that these should not believe its 
total annihilation upon death. The ingenious conceit 
of it s SLEEP was reserved to do honour to modern 

* Par. Reg. Book iv. ver. 313. 

2. But 


2. But the generality of the Philosophers held 
it to be a Substance ; and A LL who so held, were 
unanimous that it was a DISCERPED PART or 
A WHOLE ; an.l that this IV holt was GOD ; into 
whom it was again to be resolved. 

But concerning this Wholt they differed. 

SOME held, that there was only one Substance in 
Nature : Others held two. 

THEY who maintained the one Universal Sub- 
tance, or TO V *EN, in the strictest sense, were 
ATHEISTS ; and altogether in the sentiments of 
the modern Spinozists ; whose Master apparently 
catched this epidemical contagion of human reason 
from Antiquity. 

The OTH ERS, who believed there were two ge 
neral Substances in nature, GOD and MATTER, were 
taught to conclude, by their way of interpreting 
the famous maxim of ex nihilo nihilfit, that they 
were both eternal. These were their THEISTS ; 
though approaching sometimes, on the one hand, 
to what is called Spinozisyn ; sometimes, on the 
other, to Manicheism. 

For they, who held two Substances, were again 

Some of them, as the Cyrenaics, the Cynics, and 
the Stoics, held both these Substances to be material; 
which gave an opening to Spinozism : Others, as 
the Pythagoreans, the Platonists, and Peripatetics, 
held only om to be material ; which gave the like 
opening to Manicheism. 

1 3 Lastly, 


Lastly, the maint^iners of the immateriality of 
tbe divine Substance, Ayere likewise divided into two 
parties ; the first of which held but cue person in 
the Godhead; the other, two or three. So that 
as the former believed the Soul to be part of the 
supreme God ; the latter believed it to be pint only 
of the second or third Hypostasis. Origen, speak 
ing of the Greek Philosophers, says, " They plainly 
suppose the whole World to be God. The Stoics 
jnake it thejirst God. As to the followers of Plato, 
Spine make it the secoutf, and some the third God *." 

As they multiplied the Persons of the Godhead, 
$o they multiplied the subsistence of the Soul ; some 
giving two, and some, more liberally, three to every 
man. But it is to be observed, that they esteemed 
only one of these to be part of God; the others 
js-ere pnly elementary matter, or mere qualities. 

These things are but hinted at, a.s sufficient 
to our purpose : A full explanation of them, though 
both curious and useful, would take up too much 
room, and lead us too far from our subject. 

Now, however They, who teld Uie Soul to be 
,3 real substance, differed thus in circumstantials, 
yet in this consequence of its substantiality, that 
it was part of God, discerped from, hyii, <?#</ would 
.^resolved; ^iui i/tty hlpi^ they all, ^,e. say, agreed. 
Jen; those. \v.ho held b,ut otip substa ! nce, could n.o.t but 

TOV OMV xofffMW *<yx<riV Enwi fov. 
tev txf&rov. Ol $ ano n^on-ay- TOV dtuTtfW Tivl^ $t auruv Toy 
/Toj/. Cont. Ccls. 1. v. 



esteem the soul a p^rt of it ; and these who hpM tyq, 

.considered those two as conjoined, aud composing 

an, Universe; jiist as the soul and body compose^ 

$, mau. Of wluch Univqrac, God w^s tUe spvJU ,ad 

matter, the body. IJence they cpucliided., that as 

tlie uumarj, bp.dy was resolved into HS Pai^i^t Master, 

sp the sp^ul was resolved into its Parent Spirit. 

Agreeably to this explanation, Cicero delivers the 
cpininon sentiments o f his Greek masters on this 
head : " A natura Deorum, ut dpctjissi^is $apkn- 
" tissiraisque pli\cuit, HAUSTOS animus & LI BATONS 
" habemus *. ?> And again : " Iluriianus autein 
" alio nullo nisi cum ipso Deo (si hoc fas est dicta) 
" comparari potest \ ." 

And, in anpthei* place, he says," a^nimos honn- 
, u nura quadani ex parte extrinsecus esse tractps & 
i haustos, ex qua intelligiuius esse wtra divinuHi 
" animum humanus unde ducatur J." lies aft^- 
\vards gives the whole system, from Paciivianus, 
more at lai ge : 

16 Quicquid cst hoc, oi-wnia animat, format, alk, 
auget, creat, 

Sepelit, rccipitque in sese omnia, o^nnknnque 
idem, cst Pater ; 

Indidemque, eaduuque oriuntur de integro, atque 
coflem occidunt .," 

* J)e Divin. 1. i. c. 49. 
f See note [A A] at the end of this Book. 
J DC Divin, Li. c. 32. .Ib. 1. i. e. 57. 
L 4 


And St. Austin did not think them injured in this 
representation. In his excellent work of the City 
of God, he thus exposes the absurdity of that 
general principle : " Quid infelicius credi potest, 

quam Dei partem vnpulare, cum puer vapulat ? 

Jam veropartes Dei fieri lascivas, iniquas, impias, 

atque omnino damnabiies quis ferre potest, nisi 
qui prorsus insanii * ? " 

Now, lest the reader should suspect that these 
kind of phrases, such as, the soul s being part of 
God-, discerpedfrom him<of his Nature ; which 
perpetually occur in the writings of the Ancients, 
are only highly figurative expressions, and not 
measurable by the severe standard of metaphysical 
propriety; he is desired to take notice of one 
consequence drawn from this principle, and univer 
sally held by Antiquity, which was this, That the 
soul was eternal, a parte ANTE, as well as a part e 
POST ; which the Latins well expressed by the word 


For this we shall produce an authority above 
exception : " It is a thing very well known (says 
the accurate Cud worth) that, according to the 
1 sense of Philosophers, these two things were 
1 always included together, in that one opinion 
of the Soul s immortality, namely, \\spre-existence, 
1 as well as its post-existence. Neither was there 

* De Divin. 1. iv. c. 13. 

t See note [BB] at the end of this Book. 


ever any of the Ancients, before Christianity, 
" that held the Soul s future permanency after 
" death, who did not likewise assort its pre-existence; 
" they clearly perceiving that if it was once granted, 
" that the soul was generated, it could never be 
" proved but that it might bO also corrupted : And 
" therefore the assertors of the Soul s immortality 
" commonly began here ; first to prove its pre- 
" existence *," &c. What this learned man is 
quoted for, is the fact: And, for that, we may 
safely take his word: As to the reason given, that, 
we bee, is visionary ; invented, perhaps, to hide the 
enormity of the Principle :t came from. The true 
reason was its being a natural consequence of the 
opinion, that the Soul was part of God. This, 
Tully plainly intimates, where, after having quoted 
the verses from Pacuvianus given above, he subjoins, 
" Quid estigitur, cur domiis sit omnium una, eaque 
" communis, cumque animi hominum semper fue- 
" rintfuturique sint, cur hi, quid ex quoque eveniat, 
" & quid quamque rem significet, perspicere non 
" possiut?" And again as plainly, " Animoruni 
" nulla in tenis origo inveneri potest : His enim in 
" naturis nihil inest quod vim memoriae, mentis, 
" cogitationis habeat ? quod & praeterita teneat, 
" & futura provideat, & complecti possit praesentia ; 
" quo3 sola divina sunt. Nee invenietur unquam, 
^ unde ad hominem venire possint, nisi a Deo. Ita 

* Intel|ectual System, p. 38. 

" quicquid 


quicquid est illud, quod sentit, quod sapit, quo.d 
vult, quod viget, ccel$s{e divinuin est; on 


It hath been observed, in the last section, { 
the famous argument of Plato, explained, aud 
strongly recommended, by Cicero, supposes the 
soul to have been from- eternity, because it is a self- 
existent substance; which is plainly supposing it to 
have been eternal a parte ante, because it is a part 
of God. 

Here then is a consequence^ universally acknow 
ledged, which will not allow the principle, from 
whence it proceeded, to be understood in any other 
sense than one strictly metaphysical. Let us con- 
sider it a little. We are told they held the soul to 
be eternal: If eternal, it must be either independent 
on God, or part of his substance. Independent it 
could not be, for there can be but one independent 
of the same kind of substance : The Ancients., in 
deed, thouglii it no absurdity to say, that God and 
Matter were both self-existent, but they allowed no 
third ; tjnerefore they must nec^s conclude that // 
was part of God. 

And in that sense, indeed, they called it (as we 
see in. the last section) independent, when,on account 
of its original, they gave it this attribute of the 
Deity; and, with that, joined the. others of itHge- 
neratcd, and 

Fragm. de Consolations 


But wjien the Ancients are said to hold the pre- 
md post-existence of the Soul, a,nd therefpre tot 
attribute a proper eternity to it, we must not supppse 
that they understood it to be eternal in its district 
qnd peculiar existence ; but that it was discerpcd 
from the substance of God, in time ; and \vould* i 
time, be rejoined, and resolved into it again. This 
they explained by a closed Vessel filled with sea- 
water, which swimming a while upon the ocean, doe, 
o.n the. Vessel s breaking, flow in again, and mingle 
with the common mass. They only differed about 
the time of this reunion arid resolution : The 
greater part holding it to be at death*; but the* 
Pythagoreans, not till after many transmigrations. 
The Platonits went between these two opinions ; 
and rejoined pure arid unpolluted souls immediately, 
to the universal spirit : but tliqse which had con 
tracted much defilement, were sent into a succession 
of other bodies, to purge and purify them, before 
they returned to their Parent Substance f . And 
these were the twp sorts of the NATUHAL METEM- 

* See the Critical Inquiry into the Opinions and 
Practice of Ancient Philosophers, p. 125, &seq. ad edit. 

f Nee enim omnibus iklem illi sapientes arbitrati 

funt eundem cursum in ccelum patere. Nam vitiis & 

$celeribus contaminates deprimi in tenebras, atque in 

v^oeno jaoere docuerunt: castos autcm, puros, integros, 

incorruptos, bonis etiam ftudiis atque artibus expolitos, 

levi quodam ac focili lapsu ad Deos, id est, ad naturain 

3ui siujilem peryplare. Fragm. $1^ ponsolatipne. 


PSYCHOSIS, which we have observed above, to 
have been really held by those two Schools of 

philosophy * 

That we have given a fair representation of the 
ancient belief in this matter, we appeal to the learned 
Gassendi : " Interim tamen vix ulli fuere (quae 
e humanae mentis caligo, atque imbecillitas est) qui 
" non inciderint in errorcm ilium de REFUSIONE 
" IN ANIMAM MUNDI. Nimirum, sicut existi- 
" marunt singulorum animas particulas esse animaj 
* c mundanae, quarum quaelibet suo corpore, ut aqua 
" vase, inch ! deretur ; ita & reputarunt unamquamque 
l animatn, corpore dissolute, quasi diffracto vase, 
" effluere, ac Animae mundi, e qua deducta fuerit, 
" iterum uniri ; nisi quod plerumque ob contractas 
cc in impuro corpore sordeis, vitiorumque maculas, 
cc non prius uniantur, quam sensim omneis sordeis 
" exuerint, & alia3 serius, aliae ocyus repurgata?, 
" atque irnmunes ab omni labe evaserint f." A 
great Authority ! and the greater, for that it pro 
ceeded from the plain view of the fact only : Gas- 
sendi appearing not to have been sensible of the 
consequence here deduced from it, namely, that 
none of the ancient philosophers COULD believe a 
future state of rewards and punishments. Other 
wise, we may be sure, he had not failed to urge that 
consequence, in his famous Apology for Epicurus. j 

* See note [CC] at the end of this Book. 

f Animadv. in dec. lib. Diog. Laert. p. 550. 



whose monstrous errors he all along strives to pal 
liate, by confronting them with others as bad, 
amongst the Theistic sects of Philosophy. 

Thus \ve see, that this very opinion of the Soul s 
eternity, \vhich hath made modern writers conclude 
that the ancient Sages believed a future state of re 
ward and punishment, was, in truth, the very reason 
why they believed it not. 

The primitive Christian writers were more quick- 
sighted : They plainly saw, this Principle was de 
structive of such future state, and therefore employed 
all their Eloquence, and more successfully than they 
did their Logic, to oppose it. Thus Arnobius (not 
indeed attending to the double doctrine of the an 
cient Philosophy) accuses Plato of contradiction, for 
holding this Principle, and yet, at the same time, 
preaching up a future state of reward and punish 
ment *. 


* Quid ? Plato idem vester in eo volumine, q^od de 
animsE immortalitate composuit, non Acherontem, non 
Stygcm, non Cocytum fluvios, &, Pyriphlegetontcm 
nominat, in quibus animas asseverat volvi, mergi, exuri ? 
Et homo prudentise non pravse, & examinis judiciique 
perpensi, rem inenodabilem suscipit, ut cum animas 
dicat immortales, perpetuas, 8c corporali soliditate pri- 
yatas ; puniri eas dicat tamen, & doloris afficiat sensu. 
Quis autein hominum non vidit, quod sit immortale, 
quod simplex, nullum posse dolorem admittere ; quod 
autem sentiat dolorem, immortalitatem habere non posse? 
Et qui potetit territari formidinis alicujus horrore, cui 
fi4erit persuasum, tarn seesse immortalem quam ipsum. 
1 1 Peum 

158 f!IE DIVINE LEGATION [Rook lit 
But it must be confessed, some of the Fathers, 
a w-as their custom, ran into the opposite extreme ; 
and held the Soul to be naturally mortal ; and, to 
support this, maintained its materiality : Jtfst a-s in 
the case before, to support human passions in th 
Godhead, they gave hirh a human form. Tatidri; 
Tertiillian, and Arnobius, fell into this foolish error. 
Others indeed, as Justin Martyr, and Irennsus, went 
more soberly to work ; affirming only, against the 
notion of its eternity, that it was created by God, 
and depended continually upon hitt for its duratrorf. 
In. tlie heat of dispute, indeed, some unwary words 
may now and then drop from the s6bcrest of them, 
which seem to favour the doctHne of the SouFs 
materiality : But it is but candid to correct them 
by the general tenor of tlicrr sentiments. 

This was the true original of every thing looking 
so unto ward! y, in the writings of the Fathers: 
which. had Mr. Dodwell considered, he had never 
written so weak a book as his epistolary discourse 
against the Soul s immortality, from the judgment- 
of the Fathers ; whose opinions he hath one while 
egregiously mistaken; at another, as grossly mis 

Having now seen that the Philosophers in ge 
neral, held the Soul to be part of God, and resolvable 


Deum primnm ; nee ab eo jndicari quidquam de se posse, 
c!Mn sit una immortalitas in utroque, nee in alteriu* 
altera conditionis possit <equalitate vexari ? Adver. 
Gentes, 1. ii. p. 52 64. Ed. Lugd. Bat. 1651. Quarto. 

Sect-. 4-1 OF MOSES l>EMONSTflATED. 159 
into kwij test any doubt should remain, I shall 
shew in the rfcxt place, that this was, more espe 
cially, believed by the famous PPIILOSOPHTC QUA 
TERNION : And if lield by them, we cannot have 
thfc least doubt of the rest. 

Cicero, in the person of Velleius., the Epicurean, 
accuses PYTHAGORAS, for holding that the human*, 
stoul was distierped frona the substance of God, or 
the universal nature. " Nam Pythagoras, qui ecu 
tt stiit animum esse per naturam rerum oittnen? 
* ihfentirrn & commeantem, ex quo nostri animi 
" carperentur, non vidit distmctiorre humanoram 
* animorum discerpi & lacerari Deum *." Here;, 
Velleius does not (as hath been pretended) exagge^- 
rate or strain matters, to serve his purpose. Pytha 
goras held the old maxim ex nlhilo nihil fit, and, 
therefore, must needs hold the soul to be taken from 
some foreign and external substance. And he sl<* 
lowed only two substances, God and matter : there* 
fore, as he taught the Soul was immaterial, he could 
not possibly conceive it to be any other than a Pait 
of God. So that Velleius s consequence naturally 
follows, that as Pythagoras held the soul to be a 
Substance not a Quality, he must suppose it to be 
torn and discerped from the Substance of God, 
To the same purpose, Sextus Empiiicus : Pytha* 
goras and Empedocles, and the whole company of 
the Italic school, hold that our Souls are not only 
&f the mme nature uith one tfnoffar, and 

* Nat. Deor. 1. i. c. 11, 

Gods, but likewise with the irrational souls of 
brutes : For that there 13 one spirit that pervades 
the Universe, and serves it for a soul ; which unites 
us and them together *. That Pythagoras and Plata 
held the human soul to be of the same nature with 
God, lias been seen at large ; that they supposed 
the brutal soul to be of the same nature with the 
human, which is the other particular here asserted 
by Sextus Empiricus, appears from the testimony of 
Plutarch - H 


ni/ uraoacrigy tuv (raj/xarwi/ 

For the Ancients taught that the discerped Parts 

of this universal Spirit, the Aniina mundi, or what 

soever name they gave it, acted with different de 

grees of activity and force, according to the different 

nature and disposition of the Matter with which 

these parts were invested. Lastly, Laertius tells us, 

that Pythagoras supposed the soul to be different 

from the life ; and immortal \for that the Substance, 

from which it was discerped, was immortal J, 

* O< /4sv xv TZtpl TQV HuQayogav y^ TOV E/^7rJbxX;z, xj TWV 

(pcur ^trj /xovov rt wfoj aXA\j x ts raj eaj 
tlvou viva. xotvuviaV) Klha xj ispos TO, aXcl# TWV uuv ev yocg 

VTTOifXtlV TZVIVIMI., TO tilO, 1!0tvio$ T8 KOfffJOS 3iJ}OV ^VWS TOjJW Tf 

xj ivay n^ -arfoj kmva) lib. ix. Adv. Physic. 127 

t Plac. Phil. 1. v. c. 20. 


TE tuff It a,7TE<r7rstrai } ttfawflw w. Vit. Phil.l. viii. 28. 



If we may give credit to the ancient Christian 
writers, we shall find they too charge the Pytha 
goreans with these very principles. Jerom says, 
" Juxta Pythagoricorum dogmata, qui hominem 
" exrequant Deo, et de ejus dicunt esse substan- 
" tia*." Austin speaks to the same purpose 
" Cedant et illi quos quidem puduit dicere Deum 
" corpus esse, verumtamen ejusdem nature? , cujus 
" ille est, animos nostros esse putaverunt ; ita non 
" eos mo vet tanta mutabelitas animte, ^uam Del 
" nature tribuere nefas cst f." 

PLATO, without any softening, frequently calls 
the Soul, God ; arid part of God, NOTN AEI CEON. 
Plutarch says, " Pythagoras and Plato held the 
soul to be immortal : For that launching out into 
the Soul of the universe, it returns to its parent and 
original ^" Tertullian charges this opinion home 
upon him. " Primo quidem oblivionis capacem 
" animam non cedam, quia tantam illi concessit 
" divinitatem, ut Deo adaquetur\? Arnobius does 
no less, where he apostrophises the Platonists in this 
manner : " Ipse denique animus, qui immortalis a 
" vobis & Deus esse narratur, cur in segris rcger 
" sit, in infantibus stolidus, in scnectute defessus? 
""Delira, & fatua, & insana||!" The latter part 

* Ctesiphon. adver. Pelag. f De civ. Dei, viii. 5. 
^arwy, a$Qaglov MM tw 4* V X>W tltSaav yap 
|/y%>iv, awtxpfM <zfa ro o^oyevEj. De Plac. 
Phil. L iv. c. 7. 

De anima, c. xxiv. || Adv. Gentes, 1. ii. p. 47. 

VOL. Ill, M of 

of the sentence is commonly read thus ; Cur in 
tegris cpger sit, in mfantibus stolidus, in senectutc 
defessus, ddira, $ fatua, $ imam? The Critics 
think something is here wanting before the three last 
-words. But it appears to me only to have been 
wrong pointed ; there should be a note of interro 
gation instead of a comma at dcfessus? Dclira, 
S^fatua, 8$ insana, making a sentence of itself, by 
means of narrcttis understood. Hermias in his 
Trris. Gent. Phil, expresses himself, on the same 
occasion, pretty much in the same manner : 

,v t/^pj x&Xsiv ; Wff PW /*o Joxfi", Tff off/ay, J a 

>! poftfav, rl raW. Eusebius expressly says, that 
Plato held the soul to be ungeneratcd, and to be 
derived by way of emanation from the first cause; 
as being unwilling to allow that it could be made out 
of nothing. Which necessarily implies, that, accord 
ing to Plato s doctrine, God was the material or 
substantial cause of the Soul, or that the Soul was 
part of his substance *. 

There is indeed a passage in Stoba?us, which 
hath been understood by some, to contradict what 
is here delivered as the sentiments of Plato. It is 
where Speusippus, the nephew and follower of 
.Plato, says, that the MIND avw neither the same 

* 4 O & 

/tv, ceysmms thai (pawuv iraj urns? > vsavav 
i| airoffoias rns T w OVT^- auras ypyovwgu tiffoai 
Praep. Evaiig. 1. ^iii. c. 15. 


with THE ONE, nor THE GOOD ; but had a peculiar 
nature of its own*. Our Stanley supposes! him 
to speak here of the human mind: And then, in 
deed, the contradiction is evident. But that learned 
man seems to have been mistaken, and misled by his 
author, Stobrcus ; who has misplaced this placit, 
and put it into a chapter with several others, which 
relate to the human mind. I conceive it to be cer 
tain that Speusippus was here speaking of a different 
thing ; namely, of the nature of the third hypo- 
stasis in the Platonic Trinity ; the NOY2, or Aoy^S 
so intitled by his uncle ; which he would, by the 
words in question, personally distinguish from the 
TO X *EN, the ONE, the Jirst person; and from the 
T AFA0ON, the GOOD, the second in that Trinity. 

ARISTOTLE thought of the Soul like the rest, as 

we learn from a passage quoted by Cudworth J out 

of his Nichomachean ethics ; where having spoken 

of the sensitive soul, and declared it to be mortal, 

he goes on in this manner : It remaim that the mind 

or intellect, and that alone (pre-existing) enter 

from without, and be only DIVINE . 

. But then he distinguishes again concerning this 

Mind or intellect, and makes it twofold; agent and 

patient : The former of which, he concludes to be 

TOV vav Sre ru ew, are T ayaQu TOV avrov, 
n 3e. Eccl. Phys. 1. i. c. i. 
f Hist, of Phil. Fart. v. Art. SPEUSIPPUS, c. 2. 
J Intel!. System, p. 55. 
^ AaWai & TV vxv pwov Syfaficv 7rsi<rivai } ^ Seiw KVM /uovcv. 



immortal, and the latter corruptible. The agent 
Intellect is only immortal and eternal, but the pas- 
sire is corruptible*. Cudwortb thinks this a very 
doubtful and obscure passage ; and imagines Ari 
stotle was led to write thus unintelligibly, by his doc- 
trine of forms and qualities ; which confounds cor 
poreal with incorporeal substances : But had that 
excellent person reflected on the general doctrine of 
the TO V *EN, he would have seen, the passage was 
plain and easy: and that Aristotle, from the common 
principle of the Human Soul s being part of the, 
Divine Substance, draws a conclusion against a 
future state of separate existence ; which, though 
(as it now appears) all the Philosophers embraced, 
yet all were not so forward to avow. The obvious 
meaning of the words then is this : The agent Intel 
ligent (says he) is only immortal and eternal, but 
the passive; corruptible, i. e. The particular sensa 
tions of the soul (the passive Intelligent) will cease 
after death ; and the substance of it (the agent In- 
tclligent) will be resolved into the Soul of the Uni 
verse. For it was Aristotle s opinion, who compared 
the Soul to a rasa tabula, that human sensations and 
reflections were passions : These therefore are what 
he finely calls, the passive Intelligent , which, he 
says, shall cease, or is corruptible. What he meant 
by the agent Intelligent, we learn from his commen 
tators ; who interpret it to bigniiy, as Cudworth here 

* Tiro fjtovw aQavdlov x) CUGIOV^ o 3s 



acknowledges, the DIVINE INTELLECT ; which gloss 
Aristotle himself fully justifies, in calling it GEION, 
divine. But what need of many words? The Learned 
well know, that the iutellectus agens of Aristotle 
was the very same with the anima mnndi of Plato 
and Pythagoras. 

Thus, this seeming extravagance in dividing the 
human mind into agent and patient, appears very 
plain and accurate: But the not having this common 
key to the ancient Metaphysics, hath kept the fol 
lowers of Aristotle long at variance amongst them 
selves, whether their master did, or did not believe 
the Soul to be immortal. The anonymous writer 
of the life of Pythagoras, as we find it in the Extract, 
by Photius, says, that Plato and Aristotle with one 
consent agree that the Soul is immortal: Though 
some, not fathoming the profound mind of Aristotle, 
suppose that he held the Soul to be mortal * ; that is, 
mistaking the passive Intelligent (by which Aristotle 
meant the present partial sensations) for the Soul 
itself, or the agent Intelligent. Nay, this way of 
talking of the passive Intelligent made some, as 
Nemesius, even imagine that he held the Soul to be 
only a quality)". 

* "On TlkaTuv, p>i<7i, xj Aftrolstois, Mvaiov ouoius "te 

V JtOUl 

avrcv teyw. Phot. Bibl. Cod. 259. 

Ol /LCEV o?Ao: TYIV -^vxlw iivai teyz<r 
avwiov, J3e Nat. Horn. 

M 3 

As to the STOICS, Cleanthes held (as Stobseus 
tells us) that every thing was made out of one, and 
would be again resolved into one *. But let Seneca 
speak for them all. And why should you not be 
lieve something divine to be in him, who is indeed 


we are contained, is ONE, and that ONE is GOD; 
we being his Companions and Members f. 

Epictetus says, the souls of men have the nearest 
relation to God, as being parts, or fragments of 
him, discerped and torn from his substance. Xwufsls 

TW 3fto, are writ popiM Ktr&i xj #V0<T7ra<7/.*aIa. This 
passage amongst others, equally strong, is quoted 
by the learned Dr. Mour, in his book of the Im 
mortality of the Soul J. And one cannot but smile 
at the good Doctor s explanation of a general Prin 
ciple which he could by no means approve. These 
expressions (says he) make the Soul of man a ray or 
beam of the Soul of the World, or of God. But 
we are to take notice, THEY ARE BUT METAPHO 
RICAL PHRASES. So, the Socinian, to texts of scrip 
ture full as strong for the doctrine of the Redemp 
tion. And so, indeed, men of all Parties, when they 
would remove what stands in their way. They first 

* Eclog Phys. c. 20. 

-\ Quid est autem, cur non existimes in eo divini 
aliquid cxistere qui Dei pars est ? Totum hoc, quo 
continemur, & unum est, & Deus : & socii ejus sumus, 
& membra. Ep92. 

J Book iii. chap. 16. 



change Things into Figures ; and then change Fi 
gures into nothing. But here the learned Doctor 
was, more than ordinary, unlucky in the application 
of his solution : for Arrian, the Interpreter of Epic- 
tetus, tells us, by an apt comparison, what is meant 
by being part of the TO &, / am, says he, a man, 
a part of the TO wav, as an hour is part of the day ; 

Lastly, Marcus Antoninus, as a consolation 
against the fear of death, says, To die is not only 
according to the course of nature, but of great use 
to it. We shall consider how closely man is united 
to the GODHEAD, and in what part of him that 
union resides , and what will be the. condition of that" 
part or portion when it is resolved into the AXIMA. 
MUNDI *. Here the doctrine of the TO \* is hinted at ; 
but writing only to Adepts, he is a little obscure. 
The Editors have made a very confused comment 
and translation : the common reading of the latter 
part of the passage is, K*l QTAV BTWJ *w hzK&vlou. 
TO T* oZtyuTnt TXTQ (Aoptov which is certainly corrupt.- 
Gataker very accurately transposed the words thus : 
K*i OTW? %n orotv, and for ^ax/tilai, read tuxfi**. 
Meric Casaubon, more happily, Jia^Erflft*. They 
have the true reading between them : But not being 
aware that the doctrine of the nf union was here 

Tro (dvloi a pww Qwrws yw Efiv, afoot, 

.yrr ei a avw7r- x Halo. T/ air* 

KUS c%n orav ^la^au TO T8 a-fyuir TTO popm. eayroy, 

L, ii. c. 12. . . . 

a alluded 

alluded to, they could not settle the text with any 
certainty. The last word MOPION can signify 
nothing else but a discerped particle from the Soul 
of the world. Epictetus uses it in that sense in the 
passage above; and it seems to be the technical 
term for it. 

But though here the imperial Stoic must be owned 

to be a little obscure ; yet we have his own eluci 

dating comment upon it, in another place. " You 

have hitherto existed as a PART [or have had a 

particular existence] ; you will hereafter be ab- 

" sorbed and lost in the Substance which produced 

" you : or rather, you will be assumed into the- 

" Divine Nature, or the Spermatic Reasons *." 

And again, " Every Body will be soon lost and 

" buried in the universal Substance. Every Soul 

will be soon absorbed and sunk in the Universal 

" Nature f." 

After all this, one canot sufficiently admire how 

Cudworth J came to say, " All those Pagan 

Philosophers who asserted the incorporeity of 

Souls, must of necessity, in like manner, suppose 

them not to have been made out of pre-existing 


rENNHSANTI" /UAAOV SE ava&viQ&ivTy E!$ TOV hoyov alt* TOV 
ffTrepnaliHGv xala (4/ledSo^y. 1. iv. c. 14. 

f Hay TO svutov EvaQavt&lai ra^ira TM TWV oW <r/a, ^ 
uav amov ti$ TOV TUV chuv hoyov T%<ra ava^a^avilcu. 
L. vii. c. TO. 

J Intellectual System, p, 741. 

f( matter, 


" matter, but by God, out of nothing. Plutarch 
" being only here to be except ed, by reason of a 
" certain odd hypothesis which he had, that was pe- 
" culiarly his own, of a third principle besides God 
< and Matter, an evil Demon, self-existent : who 
" therefore seems to have supposed all particular 
" human souls to have been made neither out of 
" nothing, nor yet out of matter or body pre-existing, 
" but out of a certain strange commixture of the 
tc substance of the evil Soul, and God, blended 
" together ; upon which account he does affirm 
" souls to be not so much ^fov, as /*lp^ S-fs, not 
" so much the work of God, as part of him 
Plutarch s words are these: "The soul is not so 
" much the work and production of God, as a 
" part of him, nor is it made by him, but from 
" him, and out of him." C H Si xj/u^i ZK fyyw In 
T8 $8 IAWQV #AAa Xy JEAE/)-* x$ TEL* aura, aAA* All" 
UT, ^ EH aurs ytyovtv *. On all which I will 
only make this observation : If Plutarch called the 
Soul a part of God, only in a figurative or popular 
sense, what hindered him from considering it as the 
mere work and production of God? Nay how could 
it have been considered otherwise ? for figurative ex 
pression relates not to the Nature of ideas, but only 
to the Mode of conveying them. 

i. But Cud worth thinks those Philosophers, who 
held the imorporeity of the Soul, must of necessity 

* Plat, Qiuest 



believe it to be made by God out of nothing. Why 
so ? Because they could not possibly suppose it to- 
be made out of pre-existing Matter. But is there 
no other pre-existing Substance in being, besides 
Matter ? Yes, the divine. Out of this, then, it 
might have been made. And from- this, in fact, the 
Philosophers did suppose it to be made. The learned 
author, therefore, has concluded too hastily. 

2. He thinks Plutarch was single, in conceiving 
the soul to be a part, rather than a work of God ; 
and that Plutarch was led into that error by the 
Manichean principle : But how this principle should 
lead any one into such an error, is utterly incon 
ceivable. It is true, indeed, that he who already 
believes the Soul to be /* />*, or po/Ho? &S, a part or 
particle of the Divinity, if at the same time he hold 
TWO PRINCIPLES, will naturally suppose the Soul 
to take a part from each. And so indeed did Plu 
tarch: And in this only, differed from the rest of 
the Philosophers: who, as to the general tenet 
of f*ff *, and not \$w & S, that the soul was rather 
apart, than a work of God, were all of the same 
opinion with him. 

SUCH was the general doctrine on this point, 
before the corning of CHRIST: But then, those 
Philosophers, who held out against the FAITH, con 
trived, after some time, to new model both their 
Philosophy and Religion ; making their Philosophy 
more religious, and their Religion more philoso 
phical ; 


phical : Of which I have given many occasional 
instances, in the course of this work. So, amongst 
the philosophic improvements of Paganism, the 
softening this doctrine was one ; the modern Pla- 
tonists confining the notion of the Sours being part 
of the divine Substance, to those of brutes *. 
Every irrational power (says PORPHYRY) is re 
solved into the life of the whole f. And, it is remark 
able, that then, and not till then, the Philosophers 
began really to believe a future state of rewards and 
punishments. But the wiser of them had no sooner 
laid down the Doctrine of the TO V *EN than the 
Heretics, as the Gnostics, Manicheans, and Pris- 
cillians, took it up. These delivered it to the 
Arabians, from whom the Atheists of these ages 
have received it. 

Such then being the general notion concerning the 
nature of the Soul, there could be no room for the 
belief of a future state of rewards and punishments: 
and how much the Ancients understood the disbelief 
of the one to be the consequence of holding the 
other, we have a remarkable instance in STRABO. 
This excellent writer speaking of the Mosaic Re 
ligion, thus expresseth himself: For he (MosesJ 
affirmed and taught that the Egyptians and Libyans 
conceived amiss, in representing the Divinity under 
the form of beasts and cattle : and that the Greeks 
were not less mistaken, who pictured him in a human 

* See note [DD] at the end of this Book, 
f See note [EE] at the end of this Book. 

shape ; 


shape ; for God was that only ONE, which contains 

all mankind, the earth, and sea, WHICH tee call 


ALL THINGS*. This, indeed, is the rankest Spi- 

nozism : But very unjustly charged on the Jewish 

Lawgiver, who hath delivered, in his divine writings, 

such an idea of the Deity, that had he drawn it on 

set purpose to oppose to that absurd opinion, he 

could not have done it more effectually. What then, 

you will say, could induce so ingenuous a writer to 

give this false representation of an Author, to whose 

Laws he was no stranger ? The solution of the diffi 

culty (which Toland has written a senseless disser 

tation f to aggravate and envenom) seems to be 

this : Strabo well knew, that all who held the TO X *EN, 

necessarily denied a future state of reward and pu 

nishment ; and finding in the Law of Moses so ex 

traordinary a circumstance as the omission of a 

future state in the national religion, he concluded 

backwards, that the reason could be no other than 

the Author s belief of the TO X *EN : For these two 

ideas were inseparably connected in the philosophic 

imagination of the Greeks. He was supported in 

this reasoning by the common opinion of the Greek 

yap &&t jtj eeurxiv, ug dg6u; tyovxnv ol Alywfloi 
ZovIss, KJ o<7*>j^a<rj TO 3ov & ol AiZusf is* iu 3g & 
ol XMpi? 9 avQpuiTQfAQpipai runtivlet sly yotf ev TSTO fttvov S*0 TO 
wot; airavla$, x^ yyv xj SaXor7av, o HO^IV tyam x} 
^ TW ruv ovlm <pu<nv. Geog.lib. xvi. 
f See his ( Of iginee Judaicaj. 



Philosophers of that time, that the ro V was an 
Egyptian doctrine: and he was not ignorant from 
whence Moses had all his learning. 

But now, though the notion is shewn to be so 
malignant, as, more or less, to have infected all the 
ancient Greek philosophy ; yet no one, I hope, will 
suspect, that any thing so absurd and unphilosophical 
will need a formal confutation. Mr. Bayle thinks it 
even more irrational than the plastic atoms of Epi* 
curus : The atomic system is not, by a great deal, so 
absurd as Spinozism*: And judges it cannot stand 
against the demonstrations of Newton : In rny opi 
nion (says he) the Spinozists would find themselves 
embarrassed to some purpose, if one obliged them to 
admit the demonstrations of Mr. Newton f. In this 
he judged right ; and we have lately seen a treatise, 
intkled, An Inquiry into the Nature of the Human 
Soul, &e. so well reasoned on the principles of that 
philosophy, as totally to dispel the impious phantasm 
of Spinozism. He who would have just and precise 
notions of GOD and the SOUL, may read that book \ 
one of the best pursued pieces of reasoning, that, in 
my humble opinion, the present times, greatly advan 
ced in true philosopl^, have produced. 

* Le Systcme des atomes n est pas a beaucoup pn;s 
aussi absurde que le spiuozism. Grit. Diet, Article DE- 


f* Je croi (|ue les spinozistes se trouveroient bien em~ 
harasses, si on les forgoit d admettre les demonstrations, 
de Mr. Newton. Ibid. Art. LEUCJPFB. Rem.(G) a la fin. 



But it will be asked, From whence then did the 
Greeks learn this strange opinion ? for we know 
they were not ATTOAIAAKTOI. It will be said, 
perhaps, from Egypt; where they had all their other 
learning : And the books which go under the name 
of TRISMEGISTUS, and pretend to contain a body 
of the ancient Egyptian wisdom, being very full 
and explicit in favour of the doctrine of the TO *EN, 
have very much confirmed this opinion : Now 
though that imposture hath been sufficiently ex 
posed *, yet on pretence, that the writers of those 
books took the substance of them from the ancient 
Egyptian physiology, they preserve, I do not know 
how r , a certain authority amongst the learned, by no 
means due unto them. 

However, I shall venture to maintain, that the 
notion was purely GRECIAN. 

1. For first, it is a refined, remote, and far 
fetched, yet imaginary conclusion from true and 
simple principles. But the ancient Barbaric philoso 
phy, as we are informed by the Greeks, consisted 
only of detached plaeits or tenets, delivered dosvn 
from tradition ; without any thing like a pursued 
hypothesis, or speculation founded on a system )*. 

* Is. Casaubon cont. Bar. Exerc. i. N 18. 
*{- AxA s3e ol sraXa/ToJor ruv Qfroeopuv inl TO ap$i<rifiiv xj 
tyspovlo ol yap vtaregoi TUV 

E%ayovlai Qhuixfiav SfAKafrdV tie rt 
fyv Ix&fatoffa* Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. viii. in prin. 



Now refinement and subtilty are the consequence 
only of these inventions. 

But of all the Barbarians, this humour would be 
least seen in the Egyptians ; whose Sages were not 
sedentary scholastic Sophists, like the Grecian; but 
men employed and busied in the public affairs of 
Religion and Government. Men of such characters, 
we may be sure, would push even the more solid 
sciences no farther than to the uses of life. In fact, 
they did not, as appears by a singular instance, in 
the case of Pythagoras. Jamblichus tells us, that 
he spent two and twtnty years in Egypt, studying 
astronomy and geometry * ; And yet after his return 
to Samos, he himself discovered the famous 47th 
proposition of thejirst book of Euclid. This, though 
a very useful, is yet a very simple theorem ; and not 
being reached by the Egyptian Geometry, she us 
they had not advanced far in such speculations. 
So again,, in Astronomy : Thalcs is said to be the 
first who predicted an eclipse of the sun ; nor did 
the Egyptians, nor any other Barbarians, pretend 
to dispute that honour with him. To this it may be 
said, that the Egyptians certainly taught Pythagoras 
the true constitution of the Solar system in general : 
and, what is more extraordinary, the doctrine of 
Comets in particular, and of their revolutions, like 

* Ayo Ja *) efxotriv sm nctist triv Afywirlov ev- TQI; a$iiTOi$ 
arpevoptn ^ yspft^w. Vit. Pyth. c. 4. 



the other planets, round the sun * : which is esteem 
ed a modern discovery ; at least it needed the 
greatest effort of Newton s genius to render it pro 
bable ; and still the periods of their revolutions are 
only guessed at. We grant they taught him this : 
but it is as true, that they taught it not scientifically, 
but dogmatically, and as they received it from Tra 
dition ; of which, one certain proof is, that the 
Greeks soon lost or entirely neglected it, when they 
began to hypothesise f. 


* It is recorded by Aristotle and Plutarch ; and thus 
expressed by Amm. Marcellinus : " Stellas qtiasdam, 
u ceteris similes, quarum ortus obitusque, quibus sint 
" temporibus prastituti humanis mcntibus ignorari." 
1. xxv. c. 10. 

t Fixas iii supreinis mundi partibus immotas per- 
sistere, & planetas his interiores circa soletn revolvi, 
terram pariter mover! cursu annuo, diurno vero circa 
axern proprium, & solem ceu focum universi in omnium 
centro quiescere, antiquissima fuit philosophantium 
sententia. Ab ./Egyptiis autem astroruin antiquissimis 
observationibus propagatam esse hanc scntentiatn verisi- 
mile est. Et etiam ab illis 8c a gentibus conterminis ad 
Graecos gentem magis philologicam quam phiiosophicam, 
philosopbia omnis antiquior juxta et sanior iiianasse 
videtur. Subinde docuerunt Anaxagoras, Democritus, 
et alii nonnulli, terram in centro mundi immotam stare, 
& astra omnia in occasum, aliqua celerius, alia tardius 
moveri, idque in spatiis liberrimis. Namque orbis solidi 
postea ab Eudoxo, Callppo, Aristotele, introducti sunt ; 
2 declinante 

It will be asked, then, in what consisted this 
boasted Wisd rn of Fgypt; which we have so much 
extolled throughout this wcrk;.and for which li 
berty we have so large warrant from holy Scripture ? 
I reply, In the science of LEGISLATION and CIVIL 
POLICY : But this, only by the way. 

That the Egyptians did not philosophise by hy 
pothesis and system, appears farther from the cha 
racter of their first Greek disciples. Those early 
Wise men, who fetched their Philosophy from E;ypt, 
brought it home in detached and independent placits ; 
which was certainly as they found it. For, as the 
ingenious writer of the Enquiry into the Life of 
Homer says, there was yet no SEPARATION of wis- 
IXOM ; the philosopher and the divine, the legislator 
and the poet, were all united in the same person. 
Nor had they yet any Sects, or succession of Schools. 
These were late ; and therefore the Greeks could 
not be mistaken in their accounts of this matter. 

One of the first, as well as noblest systems of 
Physics, is the Atomic theory, as it was revived by 
Des Cartes. This, without doubt, was a Greek 

invention ; 

, I .* -J jj ; . . . < 

cleclinante in dies philosophic primitus introducta, et 
novis Graccorum commends paulatim praevalentibus. 
Quibus vinculis antiqid planetas in spatiis liberis retineri, 
deque cursu rectilineo perpetuo retractos, in orbem 
regular! ter agi docuere, noi\ constat. In hujus rei 
explicationem orbes solidos excogitates fuisse opinor, 
Newton, de mundi systemate. 


invention; nothing being better settled, than that 
Democritus and Leucippus were the authors of 
it *. But Posidonius, either out of envy or whim, 
would rob them of this honour, and give it to one 
Moschus a Phenician. Our excellent Cud worth 
has gone into this fancy ; and made of that un 
known Moschus, the celebrated Lawgiver of the 
Jews. But the learned Dr. Burnet hath clearly 
overthrown this, notion, and vindicated the right of 
the discovery to the two Greeks f . 

This being the case, we may easily know what 
Plato meant in saying, that the Greeks improved 
whatever science they received from the Barbarians^. 
Which words, Celsus seems to paraphrase, where 
he says, the Barbarians were good at INVENTING 
OPINIONS, but the Greeks were only able to PER 


* See note [FF] at the end of this Book. 

f " Prscterea non videtur mihi sapere indolem anti- 
" quissimorum temporum, iste modus philosophandi per 
u hypotheses &, pri.ncipiorum systernata ; quein modum, 
" ab introduces atomis, statirn sequebantur philosophi. 
" Mace Gracanica sunt, ut par est credere, et sequioris 
" aevi. Durasse mihi videtur ultra Trojana tempora 
" philosophia traditiva, quae ratiociniis et causarum ex- 
" plicatione non nitebatur, sed alterius generis & originis 
a doctrina, primig^nia et wwJwrafflt^Tw." ArchaioL 
Phil. 1. i. c. 6. 

J AJO >cj if o n^arwv tyftiv, o, n av >cj 

ol ExXwE, TKTO a/j.Eivov EKpEpmn. Anon, d.G Vit, 
P\th. ap. Photimn, Cod. 249. 

FECT and SUPPORT them*. And Epicurus, whose 
spirit was entirely systematic as well as atheistic, 
finding none of these delicacies amongst the Bar 
barians, used to maintain that the Greeks knew only 
how to philosophise f . So much was the author of 
the Voyage of Cyrus mistaken in thinking that the 
Orientalists had a genius more subtile and meta 
physical than the Greeks %. But he apparently 
formed his judgment in this matter, from the mo 
dern genius of the people, acquired since the time 
they learnt to speculate of the Greek Philosophers ; 
whose writings, since the Arabian conquests, have 
been translated into the languages of the East. 

It appears therefore, from the nature of the Bar 
baric philosophy, that such a notion as the TO V tX EN 
could not be Egyptian. 

2. But we shall shew next, that it was in fact a 
Greek invention ; by the best argument, the disco 
very of the Inventors. 

TULLY, speaking of PHERECYDES SYRUS, the 
Master of Pythagoras, says, that he was the first 
who affirmed the souls of men were ETERNAL, 

" Quod 

* Kt yyw/x!/o>5 yt HK OVEWI^EI tiri Tp 
eTrouvuy ug ixavb$ Eugtiv Soy/uaffa Taj 

xfivcu >^ fiEvaiupctcrQM roc, VTTQ @aaf<a 
Jt<rir*EHwsS Orig. cont. Celsum, p. 5. 

"O ? *ElfU(ISf- E/UL7Ta*lV, iTTOhap 

tiuvoffQau. Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. i. p. 302. ed. 
Morel. 1629. 

t Voiez Disc, sur la inythologie. 

N 2 


Quod literis extet, Pherecydes Syrus- primum 
dixit aniinos hominum esse SEMPITERNOS ; an- 
tiquus sane; fuit eniin meo regnante gentili. 
1 Hanc opinionem discipulus ejus Pythagoras 
maxime -.cqnfirmauit*." This is a very extraor 
dinary passage. If it be taken in the common 
sense of the interpreters, that Pherecydes was the 
first, or the first of the Greeks, who taught the 
IMMORTALITY of the soul, nothing can be more 
false or groundless. Tully himself well knew the 
contrary, as appears from several places of his 
works, where he represents the immortality of the 
soul, as a thing taught from the most^early times 
of memory, and by all mankind ; the author and 
original of it, as Plutarch assures us, being entirely 
unknown; which indeed might be easily gathered, 
by any attentive considerer, from the very early 
practice of deifying the dead. Cicero therefore, 
who knew that Homer taught it long before ; who 
knew that Herodotus recorded it to have been taught 


by the Egyptians from the most early times, must 
needs mean a different thing ; which the exact pro 
priety of the word semjnizrnus will lead us to under 
stand. Donatus the grammarian says, that SEM- 
PITEUNUS properly relates to the Gods, and PERPE- 
TUUS to men; Sempiternum ad Deos, perpetuum 
proprie ad homines pertinet r \ : Thus a proper ETER-. 
MT\ r is given to the Soul; a consequence which 

* Tusc. Disp. Li. c. 16. 

t In .And. Ter. Act. v. Sc. v. 


could only spring, and does necessarily spring from 
the principle, of the :_S_oul s being part of God. So 
that Cicero hath here informed us of a curious cir 
cumstance ; which not only fixes the doctrine of the 
P I5C^j?TOUgJ&reeoe, but records the Inventor of it : 
And this is farther confirmed by what he adds, that 
Pythagoras, the scholar of Pherecydes, took it from 
his master ; and by the authority of his own name 
added great credit to it. So great indeed, that, as 
we have seen, it soon overspread all the Greek phi 
losophy. And I make no question but it was Phe- 
recydes s broaching this impiety, and not hiding it 
so carefully as his great Disciple did afterwards, by 
^Q^doM^do^trine^ which made him pass with the 
people, for an Atheist. And if the story of his 
mocking at all religious worship, which JElian * 
mentions, be true, it would much support the popu 
lar opinion. 

Tatian is the only ancient writer I know of, who 
seems to be apprized of this intrigue ; or to have 
any notion of Pherecydes s true character. Tatian, 
writing to the Greeks, against their Philosophers, 
says, Aristotle is the heir of Pherecydes s Doctrine; 
and traduces the notion of the soul s immortality^ ; 
i. e. rendered the notion odious, JW,aAAt : as such 
an immortality certainly was to the Christian Church. 
How true it is that Aristotle was heir to tiiis Doc- 

* Var. Hist. 1. iv. c. 28. 

t "O 3e Afiror sXns T* Qefwufes $oy(ju&-- Xtofovfo- In, xj 

Orat. ad Gh 0.412. 
N 3 trine, 


trine, may be seen above in the Interpretation of a 
passage in the Nichomachcan ethics *. But it hath 
much embarrassed Tatian s commentators to find 
on what his censure was grounded. 

That Pherecydes was the inventor of this notion, 
and not barely the first bringer of it to the Greeks, 
may not only be collected from what hath been said 
above of the different genius of the Greek and 
Barbaric philosophy, but from what Suidas tells us 
of his being self-taught, and having no master or 
director of his studies |. 

But as the Greeks had two Inventors of their best 
physical principle, Democritus and Lcucippus; so 
had they two likewise of this their very worst in me 
taphysics. For we have as positive attestation that 
THALES was one of them, as that Pherecydes was 
the other. There arc (says Laertius) who affirm, 
that Thales was the first who held the souls of men 
to be IMMORTAL J ; AOANA TOS, an epithet, in the 
philosophic ages of Greece, which as properly signi 
fied the immortality of the Gods , as "A$0APTO2 
signified the immortality of men . The same ob 


* See p. 163. 

f AV-TQV Ss faxwzvcu *9j/iTKV, oto* iavrov a<rw<rat. Voc. 

J "Eviot 3e xj auTW izpurov ifasiv $a<riv aQavxras rot; 

Li. 24. 

So Eusebius, speaking of the political Gods of 
Egypt, says : "AMaj ^e IK TSTWV ivriysiv$ 


jection holds here against understanding it in the 
common sense, as in the case of Pherecydes. 

The sum then of the argument is this: THALFS 
and PHERECYDES, who, we are to observe, were 
contemporaries, are said to be \hejirst who taught 
the immortality of the soul *. In the common sense 
of this assertion, they were not the first; and known 
not to be the first, by those who affirmed they were 
so. The same Antiquity informs us, that they held 
tlie doctrine of the TO V tX EN ; which likewise, com 
monly went by the name of the immortality. Nor 
is there any person earlier than these on record, for 
holding this doctrine. We conclude therefore, that 
those who tell us they were the first who taught the 
immortality of the soul, necessarily meant that they 
were the first who held it to be part of the divine 
substance. This, I say, we may conclude, although 
Plutarch had not expressly affirmed it of one of them, 
where he says, that Thales was the FIRST who 
taught the soul to be an eternal-moving, or a self - 
moving Nature^. But none, but God alone, was 
supposed to be such a Nature: Therefore the Soul, 


lv NHTOTS, 3w & oweffiv >tj xotnv avQpuvuv 
rfouxoras rfc A0ANA2IA2 Pnep. Evang. 
1. iii.-c. 3. 

* Suidas speaking of Pherecydes, says : Efaorvvei & 
TJV otorr- 3b v. Voc. &*$**$ 

f 0#ta$ awtfwdlQ nPHTOS Triv fyxw, $wv AEIKINH- 
TON * AYTOKINHTON. Plac. Phil. 1. iv. c. 2. 

N 4 

according to Thales, was part of the divine Sub 
stance ; and he, according to Plutarch, was the first 
who held this opinion. 

3. But though the Greeks were the inventors 
of this impious notion ; yet we may be assured, as 
they had their first learning from Egypt, it was the 
recognition of some Egyptian Principles which led 
them into it. Let us see then what those principles 


The Egyptians, as we are assured by the con 
current testimony of Antiquity, were amongst the 
first who taught that the soul survived the" body 
and was immortal. Not, like the Greek Sophists, 
for speculation ; but for a support to their practical 
doctrine of a future state of reward and punish 
ment: and, every thing being done in Egypt for the 
sake of Society, a future state was inforced to se 
cure the general doctrine of a Providence. But 
still there would remain great difficulties concerning 
the ORIGIN OF EVIL, which seemed to affect the 
moral attributes of God. And it was not enough 
for the purposes of Society, that there was a divine 
Providence, unless that Providence was understood 
to be perfectly good and just. Some solution there 
fore was to be given ; and a better could not be well 
found, than the notion of the METEMPSYCHOSIS, 
or transmigration of Souls; without which, in the 
opinion of Hierocles * the ways of Providence 
Lib. deprov. apud Phot. Bib. Cod. 214. 



are not to be justified. The necessary consequence 
of this doctrine was, that the Soul is elder than 
the Body : So having taught before, that the Soul 
was eternal, a parte post ; and now, that it had an 
existence before it came into the Body, the Greeks, 
to give a rounding to their system, taught, on the 
foundation of its pre-existehce, that it was eternal 
too, a parte ante. This is no precarious conjecture ; 
for Suidas, after having told us that Pherecycles 
(whom we have shewn above to be one of the 
inventors of the notion of the Sours proper eternity) 
had no master, but struck every thing out of his 
own thoughts ; adds, that he had procured certain 
secret Phenician booh*. Now we know from 
Eusebius s account of Sanchoniatho, and the famous 
fragment there preserved, that these secret Phenician 
Books contained the Egyptian wisdom and learning. 

The Greeks having thus given the Soul one of 
the attributes of the Divinity; another Egyptian 
doctrine soon taught them to make a perfect God 
almighty of it. 

We have observed, that the Mysteries were an 
Egyptian invention ; and that the great secret in 
them was the unity of the Godhead. This was the 
first of the o?iropp1a ; in which, we are told, their 
Kings, and Magistrates, and a select number of 
the best and wisest, were instructed. It is clear 

Aurov $ strxivai xa^/yjTrjv, J\x taurov 




then that the doctrine was delivered in such a 
manner as was most useful to Society: But the 

principle of the TO^EN is as destructive to Society, 


as Atheism can well make it. However, having 
suitable conceptions of the Deity thus found, they 
represented him as a SPIRIT diffusing itself through 
the world, and intimately pervading all things. 
Hap* a roig rjiwatflof x.o<rpx TO ftyxw i$-i -smu^a, says 
Horapollo. And Virgil, where he gives us the 
fr*-0jppij7a of the Mysteries, describes the Godhead in 
the same manner : 

SPIRITUS intus alit, totamque infusa per artus 
MENS agitat naolern, & magno se corpore miscet. 
And thus, the Egyptians, in a figurative and moral 
sense, teaching that GOD WAS ALL THINGS*; 
the Greeks drew the conclusion, but in a literal 
and metaphysical ; that ALL THINGS WERE GOD, 
*Ev T* rot Tsowltx,, say the poems going under the name 
of Orpheus; and so ran headlong into what we 
now call Spinozism. But these propositions the 
Greeks afterwards father d upon the Egyptians. 
The Asclepian dialogue, translated into Latin by 
Apuleius, says, OMNIA UNIUS ESSE, ET UNUM 
ESSE OMNI A. And again: Nome hoc dixi OMNI A 

flat l?iv et Si -srai/Ja fAogiot, Txravja a^a o 3"ioff" 
IOCVTOV zroitT. ioiv rig liriEi iKnj TO 


o-mravcu. Idem. 


rv1 yap *7j/ai J*. This passage cannot be 
well understood without recollecting what has been 
just observed above, of the Egyptian premisses and 
the Greek conclusion. Now the Platonist, who 
forced these books, conscious of the Greek conclusion, 
artfully endeavours, in these words, to shew, it 
was a necessary consequence of the Egyptian pre 
misses ; which, he would make us believe, conveyed 
an imperfect representation of the Universe without 
it. If any man (says he) go about to separate the 
All from the One, he will destroy the All ; for All 
ought to be One. 

4. But this mistake concerning the birth-place 
of Spinozism, for a mistake it is, being chiefly, as we 
see, supported by the books, which go under the 
name of Hermes Trismegistus, it will be proper to 
say something to that matter. 

The most virulent enemies, the CHRISTIAN 
FAITH had to encounter, on its first appearance 
in the world, were the PLATONISTS and PYTHA 
GOREANS. And national Paganism, of which, these- 
Sects set up for the defenders, being, by its gross 
absurdities, obnoxious to the most violent retortion, 
their first care was to cover and secure it, by alle 
gorizing its GODS, and spiritualizing its WORSHIP. 
But, lest the novelty of this invention should dis 
credit it, they endeavoured to persuade the world, 

* Lib. xvi. of the works of Trismegist, published 
by Ficinus. 


that this refinement was agreeable to tfte ancient 
mysterious wisdom of Egypt: in which point, 
several circumstances concurred to feypur them. 
J. As first, that known, un controverted fact, that 
the Greek REUGIO,X antf PHILOSOPHY came ori 
ginally from Egypt. 2. Jhp state of the Egyptian 
philosophy in their tunes. The power of Egypt had 
been much shaken by the Persians; but totally 
overturned by the Greeks. Under the Ptolemies, 
this famous Nation suffered an entire revolution* 
in their Learning and Religion ; and their Priests, 
as was natural, began to philosophise in the Grecian 
mode; At the time we speak of, they had, for 
several ages, accustomed themselves so to dp; 
having neglected and forgotten all the old Egyptian 
learning; which, if we consider their many subver 
sive revolutions, will not appear at all strange to 
those who know, that this Learning was conveyed 
from hand to hand, partly by unfaithful Tradition, 
and partly by equivocal Hieroglyphics. However, 
an opinion of Egypt s being the repository of the 
true old Egyptian Wisdom, derived too much 
honour to the colleges of their Priests, not for them 
to contrive a way to support it. 3. This they did 
(and it leads me to the third favourable circumstance) 
by forging books under the. name of HERMES 
TkiSMEGiSTUs, the great Hero and Lawgiver of 
the old Egyptians. They could not have thought 
of a better expedient : For, in the times of the 
Ptolemies, the practice of forging books became 

general ; 

general; and the Art arrived at its perfection. 
But bad not the Greeks of this time been so univer 
sally infatuated with the delusion of mistaking their 
own Philosophy for the old Egyptian, there were 
marks enough to have detected the forgery. Jaeib- 
lichus says, the books that go under the name of 
Hermes do indeed contain the Hermaic doctrines^ 


THE PHILOSOPHERS : For they were translated out 
of the Egyptian tongue by MEN NOT UNACQUAINT 
ED WITH PHILOSOPHY *. These, it must be owned, 
were Translators of trust ! who, instead of giving 
the Egyptian Philosophy in Greek, have given us 
the Greek Philosophy in the Egyptian tongue; if 
at least what Jamblichus says be true, that these 
forgeries were first fabricated in their own country 
language. But whether this Writer saw the cheat, 
or was himself in the delusion, is hard to say : He 
has owned enough ; and made the matter much 
worse by a bad vindication. But the credit of these 
forgeries, we may well imagine, had its foundation 
in some genuine writings of Hermes. There were 
in fact, such writings : and what is more, some frag 
ments of them are yet remaining ; sufficient indeed, 
if we wanted other proof, to convict the books that 

TJT TUV (piho&Qipuv yTuuT, / aroA?%#j$ 

otTTo TYi$ AiyvTrlias ysMTlr,; iiTT avtyait <piho<rc$ia$ w, Gfftif 

e%ovlw. De Myst. 

go under the name of Hermes, of imposture. For 
what Eusebius hath given us, from SANCTION IATIIO, 
concerning the Cosmogony, was taken from the 
genuine works of Thoth or Hermes : and in them 
we see not the least resemblance of that spirit of 
refinement and speculation, which marks the cha 
racter of those forged writings : every thing is plain 
and simple ; free of all hypothesis or metaphysical 
reasoning; those inventions of the later Greeks. 

Thus the Pythagoreans and Platonists, being sup 
plied both with open prejudices and concealed for 
geries, turned them, the best they could, against 
Christianity. Under these auspices, Jamblichus 
composed the book just before mentioned, OF THE 
MYSTERIES; meaning the profound and recondite 
doctrines of Egyptian wisdom : Which, at bottom, 
is nothing else but the genuine Greek Philosophy, 
imbrowned with the dark fanaticism of eastern cant. 

But their chief strength lay in the forgery : And 
they even interpolated the very forgery, the better 
to serve their purpose against Christianity. 

It is pleasant enough to observe how 7 some primi 
tive Apologists defended themselves against the 
authority of these books. One w ould imagine they 
should have detected the cheat ; which, we see, was 
easy enough to do. Nothing like it : Instead of that, 
they opposed fraud to fraud : for some Heretics 
(the learned Beausobre in his History of Mani- 
cheism, very reasonably supposes a Gnostic to have 
been concerned) had added whole books to this 


noble collection of Trlsmeglst : In which they have 
made Hermes speak plainer of the mysteries of the 
Christian Faith, than even the Jewish Prophets them 
selves. All this was done with a spirit not unlike 
that of the two law-solicitors, of whom the story 
goes, that when one of them had forged a bond, the 
other> instead of losing time to detect the cheat, pro 
duced evidence to prove that it was paid at the day. 
But this was the humour of the times : for the Gram^ 
marians, at the height of their reputation under the 
Ptolemies, had shamefully neglected critical learning^ 
which was their province, to apply themselves to the 
forging of books, under the names of old authors. 
There is a remarkable passage in Diogenes Laertius, 
which is obscure enough to deserve an explanation ; 
and will shew us how common it was to oppose 
forgery to forgery. He is arguing against those who 
gave the origin of Philosophy (which he would 
have to be from Greece) to the Barbarians; that 
is, the Egyptians But these (says he) Ignorantly. 
apply to the Barbarians the illustrious inventions of 
the Greeks ; from whence not only Philosophy, but 
the very Race of mankind had its beginning. Thus 
w$ knozv Mihsaeus was of Athens, and Linus of 
Thebes : The former of these, the son 0/Eumolpus, 
is. said to be the first, who wrote, in verse, of the 
sphere, and of the generation of the Gcds ; and 
taught, that ALL THINGS PROCEED FROM ox. 



IT*. To see the force of this reasoning, we are to 
suppose, that they whom Laertius is here confuting, 
relied principally on this argument, to prove that 
Philosophy came originally from the Barbarians, 
namely, that the great principle of the Greek Phi 
losophy, the TO N *EN and the REFUSION, was an 
Egyptian notion. To this he replies, Not so : 
Musaeus taught it originally in Athens. The dispute, 
we see, is pleasantly conducted : His adversaries, 
who supported the common, and indeed, the true 
opinion of Philosophy s coming first from the Bar 
barians, by the false argument of the ro eVs being 
originally Egyptian, took this on the authority of 
the forged books of Trismegi&i ; and Laertius op 
poses it by as great a forgery, the fragments which 

went under the name of Musreus t 


inese are my sentiments of the Imposture. 

Casaubon supposes the whole a forgery of some 
Platonic Christians : But Cudworth lias fully shewn 
the weakness of that opinion ; yet is sometimes in 
clined to give them to the pagan Platonists of those 
times ; which seems full as weak. 

* AexvQavzffi o aw; to, TUV Ewway KtxloSa^ 

ap v 
an ys (pttoffotpix, axxa. 7 tv- avu 

ySv vafafuv Afavzioig ytfovE MxiraTos, va 
TOV pa, Eii/toter* wcufa (pan, wfoai 

xvyi rs E| tvo$ T- -arayla y ever fatty xj f^ rainov 
Lib. i. 3. 

t See note [GG] at the end of this Book. 

i. Because 


i. Because they are always mentioned, both by 
Christian and Pagan writers, as works long known, 
and of some considerable standing. 2. Because, 
had those Platonists been the authors, they would 
not have delivered the doctrine of the soul s con- 
substantiality with the Deity, and its refusion into 
him, in the gross manner in which we find it in the 
books of Trismegist. For, as we have shewn above 
by a passage from Porphyry *, they had now 
confined that irreligious notion to the Souls of brutes. 
At other times, this great Critic seems disposed to 
think that they might indeed be genuine, and trans 
lated, as we see Jamblichus would have them, from 
old Egyptian originals : But this, we presume, is 
sufficiently overthrown by what has been said above. 

In a word, these forgeries (containing the rankest 
Spinozism f) passed unsuspected on all hands ; 
and the Principle of the TO sv and the refusion went 
currently, at that time, for Egyptian : And though, 
since the revival of learning, the cheat hath been 
detected, yet the false notion of their original hath 

* See p. 171. and note [DD] at the end of this 

f As in the following passage, Oux wwot$ h roig Fe- 
votoib OTE a?ro (jua$ ^MS ri$ *wv7oj wavou ad feat ti<rw ; 
__ As where it is affirmed of the world, vaflat isoieiV) 
x" si? kawlov a TroTTotsiv. Of the incorruptibility of the soul; 
nty TZ tiwxlcu pQafivai TS ottfiafix, j aTroKwai TI ra & 

TO TS jfltt* 

VOL. III. O Jcept 

kept its ground. The celebrated M. La Croze has 
declared himself in favour of it. This is nothin* 


strange ; for learned, like unlearned men, are often 
carried away by Party. But that so discerning a 
man should think the notion well supported by a 
passage in a Greek Tragic, (where the Writer, to 
keep decorum, puts the sentiment into the mouth 
of an Egyptian Woman,) is very strange. Theonoe, 
the Daughter of Proteus, is made to say, The 
mind or soul of the deceased doth not live [i. e. 
hath no separate existence] but hath an immortal 
sensation, sliding back aain into the immortal 

Why I have been thus solicitous tp vindicate the 
pure EGYPTIAN WISDOM from this opprobrium. 
will be seen in its place. 

And now, to sum up the general argument of this 
last section. These two errors in the metaphysical 
speculations of the Philosophers, concerning the 
nature of COD, and of the SOUL, were the things 
which necessarily kept them from giving credit to 
a doctrine, which even their own moral reasonings, 
addressed to the People, had rendered highly pro 
bable in itself. But, as we observed before, it was 
their ill fate to be determined rather by metaphysical 
than moral arguments. This is best seen by coin- 

Mavalov, E!$ a9xvaliv AiSfy spire fxv. Helen. Eurip. 



paring the belief and conduct of SOCRATES with 
the rest. He was singular, as we said before, in con 
fining himself to the study of morality ; and as sin 
gular in believing the doctrine of a future state of 
rewards and punishments. What could be the 
cause of his belief but this restraint ; of which his 
belief was a natural consequence ? For having 
confined himself to MORALS, he had nothing to 
mislead him : Whereas the rest of the philosophers 
applying themselves, with a kind of fanaticism, to 
physics and metapliystcs, had drawn a number of 
absurd, though subtile conclusions, which directly 
opposed the consequences of those moral arguments. 
And as it is common for parents to be fondest of 
their weakest and most deformed issue, so these 
men, as we said, were easier swayed by their meta 
physical than moral conclusions. But SOCRATES, 
by imposing this modest restraint upon himself, 
had not only the advantage of believing steadily, 
but of informing his hearers, of what he really 
believed ; for not having occasion for, he did not 
make use of, the double doctrine. Both these cir 
cumstances, Cicero (under the person of Lelius) 
alludes to in the Character he gives of this divine 
Sage. Qui Apollinis Qraculo sapientissimus est 
judicatus, non tarn hoc, turn illud, ill in plcrisqiu^ 
zed IDEM; dlccbat semper, AN HMOS HOMIXUM ESSE 
DJVJXOS : risque cum e eorpore excessissent redttum 
in Ccelurn pater e opttrnoque ct justissimo culqiw 
O -2 

erpeditissimum *. By which words, Cicero, as we 
observe, seems to refer to the double doctrine of the 
rest of the Philosophers, who sometimes pretended 
to believe a future state, and sometimes professed to 
hold the extinction or refusion of the human soul. 

Thus, as the apostle PAUL observes, the Philoso 

BECAME FOOLS f. Well therefore might he warn 
his followers lest they too should BE SPOILED 
THROUGH VAIN PHILOSOPHY J : and one of them, 
and he no small fool neither, is upon record for 
having been thus spoiled; SYNESIUS bishop of 
Ptolemais. He went into the church a Platonist ; 
and a Piatonist he remained ; as extravagant and as 
absurd as any he had left behind him . This man, 
forsooth, could not be brought to believe the 
Apostle A- Creed, of the resurrection : And why ? 
Because he believed with Plato that the soul was, 
before the Body ; that is, eternal, a parte ante: and 
the consequence they drew from this was (as we 
have shewn) the very thing which disposed the 
Platonists to reject all future state of rewards and 
punishments. However, in this station, he was not 
for shaking hands with Christianity, but would 

* De Amicitia,c. iv. 

t Rom. i. 22. J Coloss. ii. 8. 

See a full account of this man, his principles, his 
^Tuples, and his conversion, in The Critical Inquiry 
into, the Opinions of the Philosophers, &c. c. xiv. 


suppose some grand and profound mystery to lie hid 
under the Scripture account of the RESURRECTION. 
This again was in the very spirit of Plato ; who, as 
we are told by Celsus, concealed many sublime 
things of this kind, under his popular doctrine of a 
future state *. It was just the same with the Jewish 
Platonists at the time when the doctrine of a future 
state became national amongst that people. And 
Philo himself seems disposed to turn the notion of 
Hell into an allegory, signifying an impure and 
sinful life f. 

But it was not peculiar to the Platonists to alle 
gorize the doctrine of the resurrection. It was the 
humour of all the Sects on their admission into 
Christianity. Et ut carnis restitutio negetur (says 
SCHOLA sumiturj. Yet in another place he tells 
us, that every Heresy received its SEASONING in 
the school of Plato. Doleo bona fide Platoneni 
factum HJERETJCORUM OMNIUM Condimentarium. 
For the Philosophers being, in their moral lectures 
in their schools (in imitation of the language of the 
Mysteries, whose phraseology it was the fashion to 
use both in Schools and Courts) accustomed to call 
vicious habits, death ; and reformation to a good 

* See note (J) p. 97. 

f See his tract, De congressu quaerendse eruditionis 

t De prase, adv. Hseret. De Anim. c. 23. 

3 life 

.life ANA STAriS or a resurrection, they were dis 
posed to understand the RESURRECTION- OF THE 
JUST in the same sense. Against these pests of the 
Gospel it was * that the learned apostle Paul warned 
his disciple Timothy, SHUN (says he) PROFANE 
AND VAIN BABBLINGS, /or they Kill Increase unto 
more ungodliness. And their icord mil eat as doth 
a canker : of whom is Hymcnaeus and Philetus, who 
concerning the Truth have erred, saying that THE 
throw the faith of some f . 

And here I will beg leave to observe, that when 
ever the holy Apostles speak of, or hint at the Phi- 
losophers or Philosophy of Greece, which is not 
seldom, they always do it in terms of contempt or 
abhorrence. On this account I have not been 
ashamed nor afraid to shew, at large, that the reasons 
they had for so doing were just and weighty. Nor 
have I thought myself at ail concerned to manage 
the reputation of a set of men, who, on the first 
appearance of Christianity, most virulently opposed 
it, by all the arts of sophistry and injustice : and 
when, by the force of its superior evidence, they 
were at length driven into it, were no sooner in, than 

Hinc illae fabv.lac & genealogiae indeterminabilcs, 
& quacstiones infructuosc, & Sermoties serpentes ve/ul 
.cancer: a quibus nos Apostolus refracnans, nominatim 
philosophiam, & c . Tcrtul. do prase, adv. Haret, 

t 2 Tim. ii. 16. 



they began to deprave and corrupt it*. For from 

their profane and vain babblings, Tertullian assures 

us, every heresy took its birth. Ipd ilii SAPIENTI;E 

PROFESSORES, (k quorum iHgeiiiis othnis haresis 

animatur \. And, in another place, he gives us 

their genealogy. " Ipsae denique harescs a PHI- 

" LOSOPHIA subornantur. Inde yEones fonnae, 

" nescio qua?, & trinitas hovninis apud Vakntuium: 

" PLATONICUS fuerat. Inde Marcioms deus melior 

" de tranquillitate, a STOICIS venerat; & uti aniina 

" interire dicatur, ab EPICUREIS observatur : ET 


" et ubi materia curn deo aequatur, ZENONIS dis- 
" ciplinaest: et ubi aliquid de igneo deo allegatur, 
" HERACLITUS intervenit. Eaedem materiae apud 
" hsereticos & philosophos volutantur ; iidem re- 
" tractatus implicantur. Unde maluin, Sc quare? 
". & unde homo, & quomoclo? # quod promote Va- 
" Icntinus proposing wide dcus ? Scilicet & de 
4( Entbymesi, ectromate inserunt ARISTOTELEM, 
a qui illis dialeeticam instifcuit, artificem struendi & 

* See the Introduction to Julian, or a Discourse con 
cerning his attempt to rebuild the Temple, vol. viii. 

t Adv. Marc. 1. i. The author of a fragment con 
cerning the Philosophers going under the name of 
Origen, says the same thing : atot erv auro AlHuisi ra, 
v m tv$ E^vwv <ro<pias 

O4 " destruendi, 


; destruendi, versipelleni in sententiis coaetam, in 

" conjecturis duram, in argumentis operariam, con- 

tentione molestam, etiam sibi ipsi omnia retrae- 

" tantem, nequid omnino tractaverit. Hinc ilia) 

tabulae & genealogise indeterminabiles, & qusesti- 

ones infructuosffi & SERMON ES SERPENTES 

VELUT CANCER, a quibus nos apostolus refrae- 

6 nans *," &c. One would almost imagine, from 

these last words, that Tertullian had foreseen that 

ARISTOTLE was to be the founder of the SCHOOL 


He observes, that the Heresy, which denies the 

Resurrection of the Body, arose out of the whole 

School of Gentile philosophy. But he omits another, 

which we have shewn stood upon as wide a bottom ; 

namely, that which holds the HUMAN SOUL TO BE 


GOD ; espoused before his time by the Gnostics, 
and afterwards, as we learn by St. Austin, by the 
Manichaeans and Priscillianists f . 

* De praesc. adv. Haeret. pp. 70, 71. Ed. Par. 1580. 

t Priscillianistae quos in Hispania Priscillianus in- 
stituit, maxime Gnosticorum & Manichaeorum dogmata 
pcrmixta sectantur; quamvis et ex aliis haeresibus in eas 
sordes, tanquam in sentinam quanda^tn horribili confu- 
sioiic confluxerint. Propter occultandas autem conta- 
minationes Sc turpitudines suas habent in suis dogmatibus 
& haac ycrba, Jura, perjura, secretum prodere noli. Hi, 


cujus EST DEUS. Aug. De Hseresibus. 


Why the heathen Philosophers of our times 
should be displeased to see their ancient brethren 
shewn for knaves in practice, and fools in theory, is 
not at all strange to conceive : but why any else 
should think themselves concerned in the force and 
fidelity of the drawing, is to me a greater mystery 
than any I have attempted to unveil. For a stronger 
proof of the necessity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ 
cannot, I think, be given than this, That the SAGES 
OF GREECE, with whom all the WISDOM of the 
world was supposed to be deposited *, had PHILO 
SOPHISED themselves out of the most evident and 
useful TRUTH with which mankind hath any concern. 
Besides, what greater regard could any one shew 
to the authority of the Sacred Writers than to justify 
their CENSURE of the Greek philosophy ; a censure 
which Deists and Fanatics, though for different 
ends, have equally concurred to represent as a con 
demnation of human learning in general ? 

In conclusion, it is but fit we should give the 
reader some account why we have been so long and 
so particular on this matter. 

One reason was (to mention no other at present) 
to obviate an objection, which might possibly be 
urged against our proof, of the divine legation of 
MosEs,y/wz the omission of a future state. For 
if now the Deists should say (and we know they 
are ready to say any thing) that Moses did not 

* i Cor. i. 20. 


propagate that doctrine, because he did not believe 
it; we have an answer ready: having shewn from 
iact, that the not believing a doctrine so useful to 
, society, was esteemed no reason for the Legislator 
not to propagate it. I say, having shewn it from 
the practice of the Philosophers : For as to the 
Lawgivers, that is, those who were not Philosophers 
professed, it appears, by what can be learnt from 
their history and character, that they all believed, as 
well as taught, a future state of rewards and pu 
nishments. And indeed how should it be otherwise? 
. for they were free from those metaphysical whimsies, 
concerning GOD and the SOUL, which had so be 
sotted the Greek Philosophers. And I know of no 
thing else that could hinder any man s believing it 

Against all this force of evidence, weak, indeed, 
as it is against the force of prejudice, the learned 
Chancellor of Gottingen has opposed his Authority, 
which is great, and his talents of reasoning and 
eloquence, which are still greater. " Magnam 
non ita pridem (says he) ut Antiquiores mittam, 
ingenii vim et doctrinae copiam impendit, ut in hanc 
rios sententiam induceret GUILTELMUS WARBUR- 
TONUS, vir alioquin egregius & inprimis acutus, in 
celeberrimo et eruditissirno libro, quern, The divine 
Legation of Moses demonstrated, inscripsit Lib. iii. 
Sect. 4. Jubet ille nos existimare OMNES PHI- 
LOSOPHOS, quianimorum immortalitatem docuerunt, 
eamdem clam negasse. Naturam rerurn revera Dei 
loco habuisse atque mentes hominum Particulas 



censuisse ex mundi anima decerptas, etad cam post 
-eorponuii ouitum reversuras. Vcrum, ut taccarn, 
Grceconnn tantum Philosophos euni tcstari, quuni 
aliis tainen Populis sui etiam Philosoplii fuerint, a 
Grcecorum sententiis niultis modis semoti, ut hoc, 
.inquam, seponam, non aperiis 8$ planis testimoniis 
causam suani agit Vir praeclarus, quod in tanti mo- 
menti accusatione necessarium videtur, sed con-, 
jecturis tantum, exemplis nonnullis, dcuique con- 
sectariis ex institutis quibusdam et dbgmatibus Phi- 
losophorum quorumdain ductis. De rebus Christ, 
ante Const ant mum Magnum, p. 18. Here the 
learned Critic supposing the question to be, What 
the Philosophers of the ancient Jl orld i,i general 
thought concerning a future state : charges the 
Author of the Divine Legation with fall ing short 
in his proof, which readies, says he, only the Greek 
Philosophers though there were many other in the 
world besides, who dogmatized on very different prin 
ciples. Now I had again and again declared, that 
I confined rny Inquiry to the Greek Philosophers. 
\Ve shall see presently, for what reason. What then 
could have betrayed this great Man into so wrong a 
representation ? It was not, I arn persuaded, a 
want of candour, but of attention to the Author he 
criticised. For, seeing so much written by me against 
the principles of those Ancients who propagated the 
doctrine of a future state, he unwarily concluded 
that it was in my purpose to discredit the doctrine, 
as discoverable by the light of nature; and, on that 


ground, rightly inferred that my business was with 
the whole tribe of Ancient Philosophers : and that 
to stop at the Greeks was mistaking the extent of my 
course. But a little attention to my general argu 
ment would have shewn him, that this inquiry into 
the real sentiments of a race of Sages, then most 
eminent in all political and moral Wisdom, concern 
ing this point, was made solely to shew the vast im 
portance of the doctrine of a future state of reward 
and punishment to society, when it was seen that 
these men, who publicly and sedulously taught it, did 
not indeed believe it. For this end, the Greek Phi 
losophers served my purpose to the full. Had my 
end been not the importance, but the discredit of the 
Doctrine (as this learned man unluckily conceived 
it) I had then, indeed, occasion for much more than 
their suffrage to carry my point. 

In what follows >f this learned Criticism, I am 
much further to seek for that candour which so 
eminently adorns the writings of this worthy person. 
He pretends I have not proved my charge against 
the Greek Philospohers. Be it so. But when he 
says, I have not ATTEMPTED it by any clear and 
evident testimonies , but only by conjectures ; by in 
stances in some Particulars ; by consequences de 
duced from the Doctrines and Institutes of certain 
of the Philosophers , This, I cannot reconcile to his 
ingenuous spirit of criticism. For what are all those 
passages given above, from Timaeus the Locrian, 
from Diogenes Laertius, from Plutarch, Sextus 



Empiricus, Plato, Chrysippus, Strabo, Aristotle, 
Epictetus, M. Antoninus, Seneca, and others, but 
testimonies, clear and evident, either of the parties 
concerned, or of some of their school, or of those 
who give us historical accounts of the Doctrines 
of those Schools, that none of the Theisticai Sects 
of Greek Philosophy did believe any thing of a 
future state of rewards and punishments. 

So much for that kind of evidence which the 
learned person says I have not given. 

Let us consider the nature of that kind, which lie 
owns I have given, but owns it in terms of discredit 
-In tanti momenti accusatione conjecturis tan- 
turn, evemplis nonnullis denique consectariis ex insti- 

tutis, c. 


1. As to the CONJECTURES he speaks of Were 
these offered for the purpose he represents them ; 
that is to say, directly to inforce the main question, 
I should readily agree with him, that in an accusation 
of such moment they were very impertinently urged, 
But they are employed only occasionally to give 
credit to some of those particular testimonies, which 
I esteem clear and evident, but which he denies to 
exist at all, in my inquiry. 

2. By what he says of the instances or EX 
AMPLES in some particulars, he would insinuate 
that what a single Philosopher says, holds only 
against himself, not against the Sect to which ha 
belongs : though he insinuates it in defiance of the 


very genius of the Greek Philosophy, and of the 
extent of that temper (by none better understood 
than by this learned man himself) which disposed 
the Members of a School 

- - - jurare in rerba Magistri. 

3, With regard to the INFERENCES deduced from 
the Doctrines and Institutes of certain of the, Phi 
losophers ; by which he principally means those 
deduced from their ideas of God and the Soul; We. 
roust -distinguish. 

If the inference, which is charged on an opinion 
be disavowed by the Opiuionist, the charge is. 

If it be neither avowed nor disavowed, the charge 


is inconclusive. 

But if the Consequence be acknowledged, and even 
contended for, the charge is just : and the evidence 
resulting from it has all the force of the most direct 

Now the Consequence I draw from the Doctrines 
of the Philosophers concerning God and the Souf, 
in support of my charge against them, is fully and 
largely acknowledged by them. The learned per 
son proceeds, and assures his reader that, by the 
same way of reasoning, he would undertake to prove 
that none of the Christian Divines believed any 
thing of that future state which they preached up to 
the people. ; Ego quidem mediocris iugenii home* 
" et tanto yiro quantus est Warburtonus longe 

" inferior, 


" inferior, Ornnes Christianorum Theologos nihil 
" eorurn, qua? publicc tradunt, credere, et callide 
" hominum mentibus impietatis venenum aftiare 
" velle, convincam, si mihi eadem eos via invadendi 
" potcstas concedatur, qua Philosophos Vir doc- 
tissirnus aggressus est." 

This is civil. But what he gives me on the side 
of ing&mity, he repays himself on the side of judg 
ment. For if it be, as he says, that by the same 
kind of reasoning which I employ to convict the 
Philosophers of impiety, the Fathers themselves 
might be found guilty of it, the small talent of 
ingenuity, which nature gave me, was very ill 

Now if the Learned Person can shew that Chris* 
tlan Divines, like the Greek Philosophers, made use 
of a double doctrine that they held it lawful to 
deceive, and say one thing when they thought another 
that they sometimes owned and sometimes denied a 
future state of reward and punishment that they 
held God could not be angry, nor hurt any cut- 
that the soul was part of the substance oj God- 
and avowed thai the consequence tf th-w ideas of 
God and the Soul was, no future state rf reward* 
and punhhment&-^W\\?\\ I say, he has sheun M 
this, I shall be ready to give up the Divine*, as^I 
have given up the Philosophers. 

But if, instead of this, he will first of all 11- is re 
present the force, of my reasoning against the Phi^ 


losophcrs, and then apply it, thus misrepresented, 
against the Divines ; bringing vague conjectures in 
support of the main question ; making the case of 
particulars (Synesius for instance) to include the 
whole body ; or urging consequences not seen or 
abhorred when seen (such as Polytheism from the 
Trinity) : If, I say, with such kind of proof (which 
his ingenuity and erudition may find in abundance) 
he will maintain that he has proved the charge in 
question as strongly against Christian Divines as I 
have done against the Greek Philosophers : why 
then I will agree with the first Sceptic I meet, 
that all enquiries concerning the Opinions either of 
the one set of men or of the other, is an idler em 
ployment than picking straws : For when Logic and 
Criticism will serve no longer to discover Truth, but 
may be made to serve the wild vagaries, the blind 
prejudices and the oblique interests of the Disputers 
of this World, it is time to throw aside these old In 
struments of Vanity and Mischief. 


BUT it may now perhaps be said, " Though I 
have designed well, and have obviated an objection 
arising from the present question ; yet Was it not 
imprudent to employ a circumstance for this pur 
pose, which seems to turn to the discredit of the 
Christian doctrine of a future state ? For what can 
bear harder on the REASONABLENESS of this 
1 doctrine, 


doctrine, than that the best an$ wisest of Antiquity 
did not believe a future state of rewards and 
punishments ? " 

To this I reply, 

1. That if the authority of the Greek Philo* 
gophers have found weight with us in matters of 
religion, it is more than ever the sacred Writers in 
tended they should ; as appears from the character 
they have given us of them, and of their works. 

2. Had I, indeed, contented myself with barely 
shewing, that the Philosophers rejected the doctrine 
of a future state of rewards and punishments, with 
out explaining the grounds on which ;hcy went; 
some slender suspicion, unfavourable to the Chris 
tian doctrine, might perhaps have staggered those 
weak and impotent minds which cannot support 
themselves without the Crutch of AUTHORITY. 
But when I have at large explained those grounds, 
which, of all philosophic tenets, are known to be the 
most absurd; and the reader hath seen these ad 
hered to, while the best moral arguments for it were 
overlooked and neglected, the weight of their con- 

o 7 o 

elusions loses all its force. 

3. But had I done nothing of this ; had I left 
the Philosophers in possession of their whole AU 
THORITY ; that authority would have been found 
impertinent to the point in hand. The supposed 
force of it arisetb on a very foolish error. Those, 

VOL. III. P who 

who mistake CHRISTIANITY for only a republi- 
cation of the Religion of nature, must, of course, 
suppose the doctrine it teacheth of a future state, to- 
be one of those which natural religion discovers. 
It would therefore seem a discredit to that Republi- 
catiotij were not the doctrine discoverable by human 
reason ; and some men would be apt to think it was 
not, when the Philosophers had missed of it. But 
our holy Religion (as I hope to prove in the last 
book) is quite another thing : and one consequence 
of its true nature will be seen to be this, that the 
CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE of a future state is not in 
the number of those which natural Religion teach- 


eth. The authority of the Philosophers, therefore, 
is entirely out of the question. 

4. But again, it will be found hereafter, that this 
ftict is so far from weakening the doctrines of Chris 
tianity, that it is a strong argument for the truth 
of that Dispensation. 

5. Yet as we have often seen writers, deceived in 
their representations of Pagan Antiquity ; and, 
while zealously busy in giving such a one as they 
imagined favourable to Christianity, they have been 
all along disserving it ; lest I myself should be 
suspected of having fallen into this common delu 
sion, I shall beg leave, in the last place, to shew, 
that it is just such a representation of ANTIQUITY 
as this I have given, which can possibly be of service 



to our holy Faith. And that, consequently, if what 
is here given be the true, it does revealed Religion 
much service. 

This will best appear by considering the USUAL 
VIEWS men have had, and the consequent methods 
they have pursued, in bringing PAGAN ANTIQUITY 
into the scene. 

THEIR design has been, either to illustrate the 



If the subject were REASONABLENESS, their way 
was to represent this Antiquity, as comprehending 
all the fundamental truths, concerning God and the 
Soul, which our holy Religion hath revealed. But 
as greatly as such a representation was supposed to 
serve their purpose, the Infidels, we see, have not 
feared to join issue with them on the allowed fact ; 
and with much plausibility of reasoning, have en 
deavoured to Shew, that THEREFORE CHRISTIANITY 

WAS WOT NECESSARY. And this very advantage, 
TIN DAL (under cover of a principle, which some 
modern Divines afforded him, of Christianity s being 
only a republication of the Religion of nature) ob 
tained over some writers of considerable name. 

If THE design were to shew the NECESSITY of 
Christianity, they have then taken the other course, 
and (perhaps misled by a sense of the former mis 
chief) run into the opposite extreme; in repre 
senting Pagan Antiquity as ignorant even of the 
first principles of Religion, and moral duty. Nay, 

p 2 not; 


not only, that it knew nothing, but that nothing could 
be known ; for that human reason was too weak to 
make any discoveries in these matters. Conse 
quently, that there never was any such thing as 
natural religion-, and that what glimmerings of 
knowledge men have had of this kind, were only the 
dying sparks of primitive Tradition. Here the In 
fidel again turned their own artillery upon them, in 
order to dismount that boasted REASONABLENESS 
OF CHRISTIANITY, on which they had so- much in 
sisted : And indeed, what room was there left ta 
judge of it, after human Reason had been repre 
sented as too weak and too blind to decide? 

Thus while they were contending for the reasm- 
ab knew, they destroyed the necessity ; and while 
they urged the necessity, they risked the reason 
ableness Q$ Christianity. And these infidel retortions 
had an irresistible force on the principles on which- 
our Advocates seemed to go ; namely, that Cfcm* 
tianity was. only a repitblication of primitive na 
tural Religion *. 

It appears, then, that the only view of Antiquity 
which gives solid advantage to the CHRISTIAN: 
CAUSE, is such a one as shews natural Reason to be 
CLEAR enough to PERCEIVE Truth, and the ne 
cessity of its deductions when proposed ; but not 
generally STRONG enough to DISCOVER it, and draw- 
right deductions from it. Just such a view as this v 

* See note [HH] at the end of this Book. 

I have. 


I have here given of Antiquity, as far as relates to 
the point in question ; which I presume to be the 
TRUE; not only in that point, but likewise with re 
gard to the state of NATURAL RELIGION IN GE 
NERAL : where we find human Reason could pene 
trate very far into the essential difference of things ; 
but, wanting the true principles of Religion, the 
Ancients neither knew the origin of obligation, nor 
the consequence of obedience. REVELATION hath 
discovered these Principles ; and we now wonder, 
that such prodigies of parts and knowledge could 
commit the gross absurdities which are to be found 
in their best discourses on morality. But yet this 
does not hinder us from falling into a greater and a 
worse delusion. For having of late seen several, 
excellent systems of Morals, delivered as the Prin 
ciples of natural Religion, which disclaim, or at 
least do not own, the aid of Revelation, we are apt 
to think them, in good earnest, the discoveries of 
natural Reason .; and so to regard the extent of its 
powers as an objection to the necessity of any further 
light. The objection is plausible ; but sure, there 
must be some mistake at bottom ; and the great 
difference in point of excellence, between these sup 
posed productions of mere Reason, arid those real 
ones of the most learned Ancients, will increase our 
suspicion. The truth is, these modern system- 
niakers had aids, which as they do not acknowledge, 
so, I will believe, they did not perceive. These aids 
were the true principles- of Religion, delivered by 
p 3 Revelation : 

Revelation: principles so early imbibed, and so 
clearly and evidently deduced, that they are now 
mistaken to be amongst our first and most natural 
ideas : But those who have studied Antiquity know 
the matter to be far otherwise. 

I cannot better illustrate the state and condition 
of the human mind, before Revelation, than by the 
following instance. A summary of the ATOMIC 
PHILOSOPHY is delivered in the Thecetetus of 
Plato : yet being given without its principles, when 
Plato s writings, at the revival of learning, came to 
be studied and commented upon, this summary re 
mained absolutely unintelligible : for there had been 
an interruption in the succession of that School for 
many ages ; and neither Marcilius Ficinus, nor 
Serranus, could give any reasonable account of the 
matter. But as soon as DES CARTES had revived 
that Philosophy, by excogitating its principles anew, 
the mist removed, and every one saw clearly (though 
Cudworth, I think, was the first who took notice 
of it) that Plato had given us a curious and exact 
account of that excellent Physiology. And Des 
Cartes was now thought by some, to have borrowed 
his original ideas from thence : though, but for the 
revival of the Atomic principles, that passage had 
still remained in obscurity. Just so it was with 
respect to the powers of the HUMAN MIND. Had 
not Revelation discovered the true principles of Re 
ligion, they had without doubt continued altogether 
unknown. Yet on their discovery, they appeared 



so consonant to human Reason, that men \vere apt 
to mistake them for the production of it. 

CICERO (and I quote him as of superior authority) 
understood much better the true limits and extent 
of human knowledge. He owns the state of natural 
Reason to be just what is here delivered ; clear 
enough to perceive Truth when proposed, but not, 
generally, strong enough to discover it. His re 
markable words are these" Nam neque tarn est 
" acris acies in naturis hominum, & ingeniis, ut res 
" tantas quisquam, NISI MONSTRATAS, possit vi- 
" dere : neque tanta tarnen in rebus obscuritas, ut 
" eas non penitus acri vir ingenio cernat, si modo 
" adspexerit *." 


I HAVE now gone through the second general 
proposition, which is, THAT ALL MANKIND, ESPE 


CIETY. In doing this, I have presumed to enter 
the very Penetralia of Antiquity, and expose its 
most venerable secrets to open day. Some parts 
of which having been accidentally and obscurely 
*een by the owl-light of infidelity, were imagined by 

# De Orat. 1. iii. e. 31. 

P 4 such 


such as Toland, Blount, and Coward (as is natural 
for objects thus seen by false Braves), to wear strange 
gigantic forms of terror : and with these they have 
endeavoured to disturb the settled piety of sober 

The ridiculous use these men have made of what 
they did not understand, may perhaps recal to the 
reader s mind that stale atheistical objection, that 
a State-engine, invented by the Legislator, to draw 
the knot of Civil Society more close. And the 
rather, because that objection being founded on the 
apparent use of Religion to Civil Policy, I may 
be supposed to have added much strength to it, by 
shewing in this work, in a fuller manner than, per 
haps, has been done before, the EXTENT OF THAT 
UTILITY; and the. large sphere of the Legislator s 
agency, in the application of it. 

For thus stood the case : I was to prove MOSES S 
divine assistance, from his being ABLE to leave out 
of his Religion, the doctrine of a future state. 
This required me to shew, that this doctrine was 
naturally^ the utmost importance to Society. But 
of all the arguments, by which that importance may 
be proved, the plainest, if not the strongest, is the 
conduct of LAWGIVERS. Hence the long detail 
of circumstances in the second and third books. 

But indeed it not only served to the purpose of 
my particular question, but, appeared to me, to be 
one of the least equivocal proofs of the truth of 


RELIGION in general ; and to deserve, in that view 
only, to be carefully examined and explained. I 
considered this part, therefore, and desire the reader 
would so consider it, as ajrAo^and separjrtejvork 

MAN SOCIETY, though it be but the introduction to 
the truth of the MOSAIC. 

Let us examine it: Lawgivers have unanimously 
concurred in propagating Religion. This could be 
only from a sense and experience of its UTILITY; 
in which they could not be deceived: Religion 
therefore has a general utility. We desire no more 
to establish its truth. 

SARILY COINCIDE ; that is, Truth is productive 
of Utility ; and Utility is indicative of Truth. That 
truth is productive of utility, appears from the na 
ture of the thing. The observing truth, is acting 
as things really are: he who acts as things really 
are, must gain his purposed end : all disappoint 
ment proceeding from acting as things are not: Just 
as in reasoning from true or false principles, the con 
clusion which follows must be necessarily right or 
wrong. But gaining this end is utility or happiness ; 
disappointment of the end, hurt or misery. If then 
Truth produce utility, the other part of the propo 
sition, that utility indicates truth, follows of neces 
sity. For not to follow, supposes two different 
kinds of GENERAL UTILITY relative to the same 



creature, one proceeding from truth, the other from 
falsehood ; which is impossible ; because the natures 
of those utilities must then be different, that is, one 
of them must, at the same time, be, and not be, 
utility *. Wherever then we find general utility, 
we may certainly know it for the product of Truth, 
which it indicates. But the practice of Lawgivers 
shews us that this utility results from Religion. 
The consequence is, that RELIGION, or the idea of 
the relation between the creature and the Creator, 
is true. 

However, as the unanimous concurrence of Law 
givers to support Religion, hath furnished matter for 
this poor ifidel pretence, I shall take leave to 
examine it more thoroughly. 

Our Adversaries are by no means agreed amongst 
themselves : Some of them have denied the truth of 
Religion, because it was of no UTILITY; Others, 
because it was of so GREAT. But commend me to 
the man, who, out of pure genuine spite to Religion, 
can employ these two contrary systems together, 
without the expence so much as of a blush f . 
However the System most followed, is the political 
invention of Religion for its use : the other being 
only the idle exercise of a few Dealers in para 
doxes J. 

* See note [I I] at the end of ibis Book. 

*t* See Blount s Anima Mundi, and Original of Ido 

| Such as the Author of Du Contract Social, cli. viii. 
p. 129. 

I have 


I have begun these volumes with an examination 
of ti\z first of these systems ; and shall now end 
them with a confutation of the other. For the Un 
believer, driven from his first hold, by ours hewing 
the utility of religion, preposterously retires into 
this, in order to recover his ground. 

CHITIAS of Athens, one of the thirty tyrants, 
and the most execrable of the thirty, is at the head 
of this division ; whose principles he delivers in the 
most beautiful Iambics *. His words are to this 
purpose: " There was a time when man lived like 
" a savage, without government or Laws, the 
" minister and executioner of violence; when diere 
" was neither reward annexed to virtue, nor punish- 
" ment attendant upon vice. Afterwards, it appears, 
" "that men invented civil Laws to be a curb to evil. 
" From hence, Justice presided over the human 
" race; force became a slave to right, and punish- 
" ment irremissibly pursued the transgressor. But 
" when now the laws had restrained an open vio- 
" lation of right, men set upon contriving, how to 
" injure others, in secret. And then it was, as I 
" suppose, that some CUNNING POLITICIAN, well 
" versed in the knowledge of mankind, counter- 


" plotted this design, by the invention of a principle 
" that would hold wicked men in awe, even when 
" about to say, or think, or act ill in private. And 
* this was by bringing in the BELIEF OF A GOD; 
* whom, he taught to be immortal, of infinite 

* See note [KK] at the end of this Book. 

" knowledge, 

J knowledge, and of a nature superlatively excel- 
" lent, This God, he told them, could hear and see 
*< every thing said and done by mortals here below: 
e nor could the first conception of the most secret 
1 wickedness be concealed from him, of whose 
" nature, knowledge was the very essence. Thus 
c did our POLITICIAN, by inculcating these notions, 
* become the author of a doctrine wonderfully 
" taking; while he hid truth under the embroidered 
" veil of fiction. But to add servile dread to this 
" impressed reverence, the Gods, he told them, 
" inhabited that place, which he found was the 
" repository of those Mormos, and panic terrors, 
" which man was so dexterous at feigning, and so 
" ready to fright himself withal, while he adds 
" imaginary miseries to a life already over-burtheaed 
" with disasters. That place, I mean, where the 
" swift coruscations of enkindled meteors, accom- 
1 panied with horrid bursts of thunder, run through 
u the starry vaults of heaven; the beautiful fret- 
" work of that wise old Architect, TIME. Where 
" a social troop of shining orbs perform their re- 
" gular and benignant courses : and from whence 
" refreshing showers descend to recreate the thirsty 
c earth. Such was the habitation he assigned for 
the Gods ; a place most proper for the discharge 
of their function : And these the terrors he ap- 
" plied, to circumvent secret mischief, stifle dis- 
" order in the seeds, give his Laws fair play, and 
" introduce Religion, so necessary to the magistrate. 
i " This, 

* Xhis, in rny opinion, was the TRICK, whereby 
" mortal man was first brought to believe that there 
" were immortal Natures." 

How excellent a thing is justice ! said somebody 
or other, on observing it to be practised in the den* 
of thieves and robbers. How useful, how necessary 
a thing is Religion ! may we say, when it forces this 
confession of its power, from its two most mortal 
enemies, the Tyrant and the Atheist. 

The account here given of RELIGION is, that it 
was A STATE INVENTION : that is, that the idea 
of the relation between the creature and the Creator 
was formed and contrived by politicians, to keep wen. 
in awe. From whence the Infidel concludes it to be 
GISTRATE S large share in the Establishment of 
ancient national Religions, two consequences are 
drawn; the one by Believers; the other by Un 
believers. The First conclude that therefore these 
national Religions were of political original: and 
this the ancient Fathers of the Church -spent much 
time and pains to prove. The Second conclude, 
.from the same fact, that therefore ReUgicn m 
general, or the idea of the relation between the 
creature and the Creator, was a politic invention, 
and not founded in the nature of things. And i 
in confuting this, I strengthen and support the other 
conclusion, I suppose, that, in so doing, I give ad 
ditional strength to the cause of Revelation; other 
wise the Fathers were very much mistaken. And 



though Infidels, indeed, in their writings, affect to 
dwell upon this conclusion, " that Superstition was 
" a State-invention ;" it is not, I presume, on ac 
count of any service, which they imagine it can do 
their cause ; but because it enables them to strike 
obliquely, under that cover, at Religion in general, 
when they do not care to appear without their mask. 
But if ever they should take it into their heads to 
deny> that there is any better proof of Superstitions 
being a mere politic invention than that Religion in 
general is so, let them take notice that I have here 
answered them beforehand. On the whole, then, if 
I prove that Religion in general was not a politic 
invention, I enervate all the force of the Atheist s 
argument against Revelation, taken from the inven 
tion of Religion. For that Superstition was of hu 
man original, both parties seem to agree: though 
not all of it the indention of Statesmen, as we shall 
see presently, when we come to shew that one spe 
cies of Idolatry was in use even before the institution 
of civil Society. 

I shall prove, then, and in a very few words, that 
their fact or position is Jirst, IMPERTINENT, arid 
secondly, FALSE. For, 


Were it true, as it certainly is not, that Religion 
was invented by Statesmen, it would not therefore 
follow that Religion is false, A consequence that 
has been, I do not know hoy/, allowed on all hands ; 


perhaps on the mistaken force of one or other of 
these Propositions : 

I. Either, that Religion was not found out, as a 
truth, by the use of Reason. 

II. Or, that it was invented only for its Utility. 

III. Or lastly, that the Inventors did not believe it. 

I. As to Religimis not being found out, as a truth, 
by the use of reason, we are to consider, that the 
finding out a truth by reason, necessarily implies the 
exercise of that faculty, in proportion to the impor 
tance and difficulty of the search : so that where 
men do not use their reason, truths of the utmost 
certainty and highest use will remain unknown. We 
are not accustomed to reckon it any objection to die 
most useful civil truths, that divers savage nations in 
Africa and America, remain yet ignorant of them. 

Now the objection against the truth of Religioii, 
is founded on this pretended fact, that the Lawgiver 
taught it to the people from the most early times. 
And the Infidel System is, that man from his first 
appearance in the world, even to those early limes 
of his coming under the hands of the Civil Magi 
strate, differed little from brutes in the use of his 
rational faculties ; and that the improvement of 
them was gradual and slow ; for which, Antiquity 
is appealed to, in the account it gives us concerning 
the late invention of the arts of lire. Thus, accord 
ing to their own state of the case, Religion -was 
taught mankind when the generality had not begun 



to cultivate their rational faculties ; and, what is 
chiefly remarkable, it was TAUGHT BY THOSE FEW 


It is true, our holy Religion gives a different ac 
count of these jirst men : But then it gives a different 
account too of the origin of Religion. And let our 
Adversaries prevaricate as they will, they must take 
both or neither. For that very thing which was only 
able to make the first men so enlightened, as they are 
represented in Scripture, was Revelation ; and, this 
allowed, the dispute is at an end. 

If it should be said, That " supposing Religion 
true, it is of so much importance to mankind, that 
God would never suffer us to remain ignorant of it:" 
I allow the force of the objection : but then we are 
not to prescribe to the Almighty his WAY of bringing 
us to the knowledge of his Will. It is sufficient to 
justify his goodness, that he hath done it : and 
whether he chose the way of REVELATION, or of 
REASON, or of the CIVIL MAGISTRATE, it equally 
manifests his wisdom. And why it might not happen 
to this truth, as it hath done to many others of great 
importance, to be first stumbled upon by chance, 
and mistaken for a mere utility, and afterwards 
seen and proved to be what it is; I would beg leave 
to demand of these mighty Masters of reason. 

1 1. As to Religions being invented only for its 
utility : This, though their palmary argument against 
it. is, of all, the most unlucky. It proceeds on a 



supposed inconsistency between utility and truth. 
For men perceiving much of it, between private, 
partial, utility and truth, were absurdly brought to 
think there might be the same inconsistence, between 
general utility and some truths. This it was which led 
the ancient Sages into so many errors. For neither 
Philosopher nor Lawgiver apprehending THAT 


while he neglected utility, missed (as we have seen) 
of the most momentous truths: and the Other, while 
little solicitous about truth, missed in many instances 
(as we shall see hereafter) of utility. But general 
utility and all truth, necessarily coincide. For truth 
is nothing but that natural or moral relation of 
things, whose observance is attended with universal 
benefit. We may therefore as certainly conclude 
that general utility is always founded on truth, as 
that truth is always productive of general utility. 
Take then this concession of the Atheist for granted, 
that Religion is productive of public good, and 
the very contrary to his inference, as we have 
seen above, MUST follow : namely, that Religion 
is true. 

If it should be urged, That " experience maketh 
against this reasoning ; for that it was not Religion, 
but SUPERSTITION, that, for the most part, pro 
cured this public utility : and superstition, both sides 
agree to be erroneous." To this we reply, that Su 
perstition was so far from procuring any good in the 
ancient world, where it was indeed more or less 

VOL. Ill, Q 


mixed with all the national Religions, that the good 
which Religion procured, was allayed with evil, in 
proportion to the quantity of Superstition found 
therein. And the less of Superstition there was hi 
any national Religion, the happier, cccteris paribus, 
we always find that people ; and the more there 
was of it, the unhappicr. It could not be otherwise, 
for, if we examine the case, it will appear, That all 
those advantages which result from the worship of a 
superior Being, are the consequences only of the 
true prtKcifles of Religion : and that the mischiefs 
which result from such worship, are the consequence* 
only of tiiejiifee ; or what we call Superstition. 

The wiser Ancients (in whose times, SUPERSTI 
TION, with its malignant embraces, had twined 
itself round the noble trunk of RELIGION, had 
poisoned her benignest qualities, deformed all her 
comeliness, and usurped her very NAME) were so 
struck and affected with what they saw and felt, that 
some of them thought, even ATHEISM was to be 
preferred before her. PLUTARCH composed a fine 
rhetorical discourse in favour of this strange para 
dox; which hath since given frequent occasion tqt 
much sophistical declamation. M. BAVLE hath sup 
ported Plutarch s Thesis at large, in an Historical 
and Philosophical Commentary : Yet, by neglecting, 
or rather confounding, a real and material DIS* 
TINCTION, neither the ancient nor the modern Wri 
ter hath put the reader fairly into possession of the 
question. So that, both the SUBJECT and the 



PREDICATE of the Proposition are left in that con 
venient state of ambiguity which is necessary to give. 
&. Paradox the air and reputation of an Oracle. 

The ambiguity in the subject ariseth from the word 
SUPERSTITION S being so laxly employed as to ad 
mit of two senses: either as a THING ADVENTI 
TIOUS TO RELIGION, with which it is fatally apt 
to mix itself; Or as a CORRUPT SPECIES OF RE 
LIGION. In the first sense, Superstition is of no use 
at ally but of infinite mischief* and worse than 
Atheism itself: In the second sense, of a corrupt 
Religion, it is of great service ; For, by teaching 
a Providence, on which mankind depends, it im* 
poseth a necessary curb upon individuals, so as to 
prevent the mischiefs of mutual violence and in* 
justice. It is likewise, indeed, of great disservice: 
for, by infusing wrong notions of the moral attributes 
of God, it hinders the progress of Virtue ; and 
sometimes sets up a false species of it. However, 
in the sense of a corrupt Religion, the Reader sees, 
it is infinitely preferable to Atheism : As in a Drug 
of sovereign efficacy, the application even of that 
which by time or accident is become decayed or 
vitiated, is, in desperate disorders, greatly to be 
preferred to the rejection ; though it may engender 
bad habits in the Constitution it preserves ; which, 
the sound and pure species would not have done. 
Now one of the leading fallacies, which runs through 
PLUTARCH S little Tract, keeps under the cover 
pf tl)js ambiguity, in the SUBJECT, 


The ambiguity in the PREDICATE does as much 
service to sophistry. " Superstition (they say) is 
" worse than Atheism." They do not tell us, TO 
WHOM ; but leave us to conclude, that they mean, 
both to PARTICULARS and to SOCIETY; as taking 
it for granted, that if worse to one, it must needs be 
worse to the other. But here they are mistaken: 
and so, from this ambiguity arises a new fallacy, 
which mixes itself with the other. The degree of 
mischief caused by Superstition is different, as it 
respects its objects, Individuals or Societies. Super 
stition, as it signifies only a CORRUPT RITE, is more 
hurtful to Societies than to Individuals ; and, to both, 
worse than Atheism. But as it signifies a CORRUPT 
RELIGION, it is less hurtful to Societies than to 
Individuals ; and, to both, better than Atheism, 
The confounding this distinction makes the ambi 
guity in which Bayle principally delights to riot. 
And this, by the assistance of the other from 
Plutarch, supports him in all his gross equivocations, 
and imperfect estimates : Till at length, it en 
courages him to pronounce, in the most general 
terms, that Superstition is worse than Atheism *. 

BAYLE is a great deal too diffused to come within 
the limits of this examination. But as PLUTARCH 
led the way; and hath even dazzled BACON hirn- 

* Pensees diverses ecrites a uu Docteur de Sorbonne 
a 1 occasion de la comete qui partit au mois de Decembre 
1680. Et continuation des Pensees diverses, &,c. 


self*, with the splendor of his discourse; I pro 
pose to examine his arguments, as they lie in order : 
Whereby it will appear that, besides the capital 
fallacies above detected, it abounds with a variety of 
other sophisms, poured out with a profusion which 
equals, and keeps pace with, the torrent of his wit 
and eloquence. 

This famous Tract is, as we have observed, a 
florid declamation, adorned with all the forms and 
colouring of Rhetoric; when the question de 
manded severe reasoning, and philosophical preci 
sion. At the same time, it must be owned, that it 
is of a genius very different from those luxuriant, 
and, at the same time, barren Dissertations of the 
Sophists. It is painted all over with bright and lively 
images, it sparkles with witty allusions, it amuses 
with quaint and uncommon similes ; and, in every 
decoration of spirit and genius, equals the finest 
compositions of Antiquity : Indeed, as to the solidity 
and exactness of the Logic, it is on a level with the 
meanest. His REASONING is the only part I am 
concerned with: and no more of this, than lies in 
one continued COMPARISON between Atheism and 
Superstition: For, as to his positive proofs, from 
fact, of the actual mischiefs of Superstition, I am 
willing they should be allowed all the force they 
pretend to. 

* See his Essays; where this paradox of Plutarch 
JB supported. 


It will be proper, in the first place, to observe^ 

That it is hard to say, What Plutarch intended to 

infer from this laboured Comparison between Atheism 

and Superstition ; in AVhieh, he, all the way, gives 

the preference to Atheism : For though, throughout 

the course of the argument, he considers each, only 

as it affects Particulars, yet, in his conclusion, he 

makes a general inference in favour of Atheism 

with regard to Society. But, it will not follow, that, 

because Atheism is less hurtful to Particulars, it is 

therefore less hurtful to Societies likewise. So that, 

to avoid all sophistical dealing^ it was necessary 

these two questions should be distinguished; and 

separately considered. However, let us examine 

his reasoning on that side where it hath most 

strength, The effects of Atheism and Superstition 


i . He sets out in this manner" Ignorance 
eeriling the nature of the Gods, where it meets with 
a bold and refractory temper, as in a rough and 
stubborn soil, produces ATHEISM ; where it en 
counters flexible and fearful manners, as in rank and 
low land, there it brings forth SUPERSTITION *." 
-This is by no means an exact, or even generally 

TO pw ufTrep EV x,copiot$ rio 
TYIV aQeomlx, TO 5f, Wsf EV 

otv Itwvmlwiv, Ei 3si<rd. Steph. Ed. 8vo. 
vol. i. p. 2861 


true account of the origin of these evils. There are 
various causes which incline men to Atheism, besides 
fool-hardiness ; and, to Superstition, besides cowar 
dice. The affectation of singularity ; the vanity of 
superior knowledge; and, what Plutarch himself, 
in another place of this very Tract, assigns as a 
general cause, the seme of the miseries of Super- 
rtition, have frequently inclined men to this fatal 
obliquity of judgment. On the other hand, ignorance 
of Nature; impatience to pry into futurity; the 
unaccountable turns in a man s own fortune, to 
good or bad; and, above all, a certain reverence for 
things established, carry them into Superstition. 
And as these considerations are equally adapted to 
affect the hardy and the pusillanimous ; so the others. 
mentioned before, as soon get possession of the 
fearful as of the bold. Nay, FEAR itself is often 
the very passion which most forcibly inclines a 
wicked man, who hath nothing favourable to expect 
from divine Justice, to persuade himself that there 
is none to fear. Plutarch owns as much ; and says 
expressly, that the end the Atheist proposes in 
his opinions is to exempt biniBclf from all /ear ot 
the Deity *." Again, we find, by the 
of all times, that Superstition seizetli, along with the 
weak and fearful, the most daring and determined, 
the most ferocious and untractable. Tyrants, Con 
querors, Statesmen, and great Generals, with all 



the savage tribes of uncivilized Barbarians, submit 
tamely to this galling Yoke. 

But our Author s account of the different births 
of Atheism and Superstition was no more than was 
necessary to support his Thesis. He all along esti 
mates the two evils by the miseries they bring on 
those who are under their dominion^ These miseries 
arise from the passions they create. But, of ail the 
passions, FEAR is the most tormenting. The pusilla 
nimous mind is most subject to fear. And it is over 
the fearful (he says) that Superstition gams the 
ascendant. This, therefore, was to be laid down as 
a postulatum. The rest follows in orden 

2. Tor now coming to his parallel, he begins with 
a confession " That both errors are very bad. 
But as Superstition is accompanied with passion or 
affection, and Atheism free from all passion, Super 
stition must needs be the greater evil ; as in a broken 
limb, a compound fracture is much worse than a 
simple. Atheism (he says) may pervert the mind, 
but Superstition both nice rates and perverts. A 
man who believes no God, hath none to fear ; but 
he who believes God to be a capricious or vindictive 
Being, hath a great deal to fear *." This is wittily 
said : but Nature talks another language. We 
should beware how we credit poetical similes; or 

Eivat, &c, pp. 200, 7. 


-even philosophical analogies ; which, indeed, is but 
poetry, once removed. They both have their hopes 
and fears. Though the Atheist has no God to fear, 
yet the miserable forlorn condition of a World with* 
Dut a Ruler must keep him under perpetual alarms, 
in the apprehension of the dismal effects which 
Chance and Hazard may produce in the Material 
system ; either by removing the parts of it (whose 
present position supports the harmony of the whole) 
too far from, or else by bringing them too near to, 
one another. 

And now again, the rapidity of Plutarch s inven 
tion throws him on a Comparison, to support his 
reasoning, which entirely overturns it " He (says 
our author) who thinks Virtue a corporeal bang is 
only absurd. Here we have an error without pas 
sion. But he who thinks Virtue a mere name is 
miserable ; for his error is attended with passion *." 
How so ? " Because such a one lies under the 
sad reflection of having lost his ablest support." But 
must not a man s being deprived of the LAWGIVER 
be as sensible a mortification, as his being deprived 
of the LAW, whose existence depends upon the 
Lawgiver ? On the other side, Though Superstition 
hath itsjfazrs, it hath its hopes also: which, upon 
the whole, I think to be more eligible than that sup 
posed freedom of the Atheist (even as our author 
draws it) from all passion and affection. For though 

oi ovlai TM$ slvai rapa T^V afvrw, Sec. p. 286. 



the superstitious man may think perversely con* 
cerning the means whereby the Deity is appeased, 
yet he thinks him placable ; and supposeth the means 
to be in his own power. So that he is not under 
the tyranny of that pu re and unmixed fear, which 
Plutarch represents in such a manner as if all Nature 
furnished out provision to the superstitious man, for 
food and exercise to this passion. Whereas the 
feffection of Superstition is equal between hopes and 
fears : It is the proper temper of the superstitious 
man, which more inclines him towards one than to 
the other. But Plutarch had before, gratuitously, 
laid it down as an axiom, " That the essential tem 
perament of the superstitious man is fear and 

3. However, all this would not have been suffi 
cient to support the weakness of his declamatory 
reasoning, without the assistance of two commo 
dious sophisms, to set it off. The first, indeed, is 
of a slender make, and hath little more in it than 
sound. lie says " the very name shews, the essence 
of superstition to be Fear : For the Greek name 
of this moral mode, fowfaipovf*, signifies -djear of 
the gods." A Roman might with the same pretence 
aver, that the essence of superstition is Love : For 
that the Latin word superstitio^ hath a reference to 
the love zve bear to our children, in the desire that 
they should survive us ; being formed upon the 
observation of certain religious practices deemed 



efficacious for procuring that happy event. The 
other sophism is more material; and consists in 
putting the change upon us, and representing the 
God of the Superstitious man, by whom he supposes 
the world to be governed, in false and odious 
colours, as an envious Being, hurtful to man * : For 
it is not the good, but the EVIL DEMON whom the 
superstitious man thus represents : Not the Being 
which he worships ; but the Being which he avoids 
and detests. The superstitious man, indeed, fool 
ishly enough, supposeth, that the God whom he 
acknowledged to be good, is capricious, inconstant, 
and vindictive. But then, from that essential quality 
of GOODNESS, which belongs to him as GOD, he 
concludes, that this Being may be appeased by 
submission, and won upon by oblations and atone 
ments. All this, Plutarch himself confesseth: and 
in words which directly contradict the account he 
here gives of the God of the superstitious man. 
Superstition (says he) agitated by many contrary 
passions, sujfereth itself to smpeet that THE GOOD 
itself may he evil \. Plutarch has therefore acted 
unfairly, and to serve a purpose, in thrusting in the 
superstitious man s evil Demon, in the place of his 
God. This conduct will bear the harder upon 

r MM Ssaj, sww os 

pag. 287. 

j- H ^ foiffiicnpQViat <arXy^r5 Kaxw TO ayabov 



his ingenuity, as he held the doctrine of the TWO 
PRINCIPLES : and, therefore, can hardly be sup 
posed to have changed the object inadvertently, 
or without design. 

4. Having made the God of the superstitious 
man, a Devil, he hath, consistently enough, repre 
sented the superstitious man s condition to be the 
very state of the damned: " That his pains have not 
remission ; that he carries Hell in his bosom, and 
finds the Furies in his dreams *." The terms of the 
original are very elegant: But as they plainly allude 
to the shows of the mysteries, I think the author 
should have been so fair to recollect, that there was 
an ELYSIUM as well as a TARTARUS, both in the 
Dreams of the superstitious man and in the shows 
of the Mysteries. And that as Tartarus and Elysium 
were alike the fictions of superstition, they were 
alike the objects of the superstitious Man s dreams. 
His natural temperament and the redundancy of a 
particular humour would determine the colour of 
the Scene. The Atheist, therefore, who, he says, 
enjoys the benefit of repose, might have his sleep 
disturbed by the cries of the damned as well as the 
superstitious man ; whom he represents as kept in 
perpetual alarms by this passion ; because the habit 

x Tffr* QaffMXXW, x wowa^ nvx; eysipwa* 

iV l<f aVTYI^y W 

. p. 288, 



-of tlit body makes the very same impressions on the 
fancy, in sleep, which the state of the mind does on 
the imagination while awake, 

5. But, " from the tyranny of Superstition, he 
says, there is no respite nor escape ; because, in the 
opinion of the superstitious man, all things are 
within the jurisdiction of his God ; and this God is 
inexorable and implacable *." From such a Being, 
indeed, there can be no escape, nor respite from 
torment. But, as was said before, this is not the 
superstitious man s God, but his Devil. Besides, the 
attribute of implacability totally removes, what our 
Author makes the other half of the miseries of 
Superstition; its slavish attention to the foolish 
and costly business of expiations and atonements : 
A practice arising from the idea of placability, and 
necessarily falling with it. 

6. Therefore, as if conscious of this prevarication, 
he adds; " That the superstitious man fears even 
his best-conditioned Gods, the Beneficent, the Pre 
servers: that the Gods, from whom men seek 
grandeur, affluence, peace, concord, and success, are 
the objects of h fs dread and terror f." Here we see 

* "O 5s TTIV ruv $uv agxpv u$ rvgawifict 0os,Gtv~ erv0p&7z>jy 
^5 f*Jrj, in* <pvy?i votcaf yw aQeov ivpy, tnlaei 
v. p. 289. 

O otB ~ Ttf VSxlCliS Jc 7EV^/8ff, 

ogutriv ?,oywv 
p. 289. 


the superstitious man is at length confessed to have 
Gods very different from those before assigned unto 
him. However, we must not think that even these 
will afford him any solace or consolation. It is well 
that the whole proof of this cruel exclusion lies ii\ 
the ambiguity of the terms, Qpirluit and r^uv : 
which, when tney signify \hefearyig slavishly, do 
indeed imply misery : But when they signify fearing 
religiously, do as certainly imply a blessing; because 
they deter the subject, they influence, from evil. 
Now, when these terms are applied to the Gods 
confessedly beneficent, they can signify only a reli 
gious fear ; unless when Plutarch hath defined SU 
PERSTITION to be, the fearing slavishly, we will be 
so complaisant to allow that the SUPERSTITIOUS 
MAN * cannot fear religiously. And where is the 
absurdity in flying for refuge to Gods, so feared ? 
Though Plutarch puts it among the contradictions 
of Superstition f. It is remarkable, that these good- 
condit toned Gods, here described as w <r&K/a? xaj 
fHr, are called by our author zroflpiaas ^ 
/8?, h is native and country Gods. Yet if we 
consider the stories of Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, 
Bacchus, Diana, &c. we shall find no great reason 
to extol their morals. But here lay the distress 
of the affair. Plutarch was a Priest of this class 
of Deities ; and Greece, at that time, being oveix 
run with strange Gods, and labouring under Eastern 

* See pp. 248, &,c. 

raj Sej. p. 291. 



superstitions, it was proper to blacken this foreign 
worship, for the sake of the national: So that 
Plutarch, like the fair Trader, in an ill humour with 
Interlopers, reckons all Eastern Rites as even worse 
than_Atheism. Hence his famous exclamation to 
his Countrymen, which the noble Author of the 
Characteristics quotes with much exultation, and 
transferred bitterness. " O wretched Greeks (says 
" Plutarch, speaking to his then declining country- 
" men) who in a way of superstition run so easily 
14 into the relish of barbarous nations, and bring 
" into Religion that frightful mien of sordid ancl 
^ vilifying devotion, ill-favoured humiliation and 
" contrition, abject looks and countenances, con- 
" sternations, prostrations, disfigurations, and in the 
" act of worship distortions, constrained and pain- 
u ful postures of the body, wry faces, beggarly 
4k tones, mumpings, grimaces, cringings, and the 
" rest of this kind. A shame indeed to us Gre- 
" dans! Shall we, while we are nicely observant 
if of other forms and decencies in the Temple, shall 
" we neglect this greater decency in voice, words, 
" and manners ; and with vile cries, fawnings, and 
ft prostitute behaviour, betray the natural dignity 
" and majesty of that divine Religion, and NA- 
" TIONAL WORSHIP, delivered down to us by ou>* 
-forefathers, and purged from erery thing of 
* BARBAROCS atid sawtge kind*" Such then were 
the circumstances of the time ; and these, together 

* MUcel. Kefl. vol. iii P Misc. ii.c. 3. 



with the personal views of our Author, were, I sup 
pose, the causes which gave birth to this famous 
Tract, OF SUPERSTITION. To proceed, 

7. Another advantage of Atheism over Super* 
stition, in Plutarch s reckoning, is, " that the Atheist 
is secured from the impressions of a future state* " 
It is no wonder that we find this in the number 
of the Atheist s blessings, when we consider that 
our Author regarded a future state as a Fable, at 
best, invented for the restraint of evil. Yet, what 
ever pleasure the Atheist may take in his security 
from this terror, it is certain, Society would suffer 
by taking off so useful a curb upon the manners, 
of the people. 

8. Our Author then proves, and indeed proves 
it effectually, That superstition is much worse 
than the true knowledge of the Deity f-" 

9. He considers next the different effects of 
Atheism and Superstition on their subjects, in the 
disastrous accidents of life. And here again, 
Atheism, as usual, is found to have the advantage. 
" The Atheist indeed curses chance, and bias-. 
phemes Providence; but the superstitious man 

: T) SIK paxpa hsytiv, isepct$ In TS /3/s vsatrw 

tTt wtivot, TS wv, fMUtpOTSpw T /3/s tzoiuira, rov 

TW Savaru xaxuv STTIVOIOV aQavarew, &c. pp. 289, 90. 
f- tyawofw 3s HJ HQtilutuv av^wv KoRaQfwiiwv, &c. p. 2qi. 



complains of his Gods, and thinks himself hated 
or forsaken of them * ". The Atheist is well come 
on. Hitherto Plutarch had represented his Fa 
vourite as always calm and undisturbed : Indeed, he 
makes one great part of the Atheist s advantage 
over Superstition to consist in his freedom from alt 
unruly passions. Here, they labour both alike 
under their tyranny. Well, but some passions make 
their owner more miserable than others. It is con 
fessed, they do. But, is that the case here ? Or 
if it be, Is it to the advantage of the Atheist ? By 
no means. The disasters of life are supposed to 
have betrayed them both into passion. But he surely 
is least oppressed by the commotion, who sees a 
possibility of getting out bf his distresses. It is 
impossible the Atheist can have any such prospect. 
There is no Fence against a Flail, nor provision 
against blind Chance: The superstitious man may 
easily hope to appease the irritated Deity: for 
though he fears and dreads the Gods, yet, as 
Plutarch acknowledges, he flies to them for refuge. 
I might mention another advantage which the super 
stitious man hath over the Atheist in the disasters 
of life, namely, that he is frequently bettered by his 
misfortunes ; and this the Atheist never is ; because 


wavla, ffuyK?%vpVOi$ xj axfiTftjj QsfEicu, x a-naaiou TO, uv 
avQfuwuv -sravlav rov $ECV eunaTOU ^ w$ a 3Wyx^$ wv 5 ?.** 
rig av9?M7r&. pp. 291, 2. 

VOL. III. R the 


tie superstitious man may sti^rpbs e thm seat by 
the Gods iii punishment for his crkiies ; Which the 
AthVist never can. 

" Bat (says onr Author) If the disaster in 
question be diseased sMaitfss, tlie Atheist referring 
rt to ^^ ^ig^t ^dii^^-mtcmp^rm^ seeks out for 
the-prdpVr core. WBMe tlie supers&lious man ima- 
gtffflnfg it to be & j)iitgvietit from Heaven, neglects 
to : fiaVe [ rednj^sfe" W medicine *." The delusion 
hei^e is evident. It is built on that false position, 
which the experience of all ages hath discredkcd s 
name!j% That mm always net according to their 
principle. la this ease especially, of avoiding or 
freeing themselves from instant phy&ical evil, men 
of the mo%t different Prmeipl^s go all one way ; 
dntfliovrcver divided In their religious opinions, they 
all meet in an wttiifrmifi/ to medical practice. It 
is an idle sophism which uould persuade us, that,. 
because tlie superst idoiis man useth sabred Rites 
to remove what he esteeins a sacred disease, that,, 
therefore, he emptoys no other means f. Tlie early 
mixture of medical drus with reliious charms "ami 

TS o 



f- Plutarch makes the superstitious man say, 

p. 203, 



incantations in the first state pf Physic, might have 
taught our Author, how naturally men are wont to 
lend a helping hand to the supposed efficacy of 
Religion. But this reasoning is .utterly discredited 
by his own - instance of the Mariners ; the most 
superstitious of mortals; who, in the distresses of 
a storm, while they pour out their vows to thek 
Saviour Gods, at the same time fall lustily to their 
tackle, and pump without intermission *. Indeed, 
he seems fully sensible of its weakness, when he 
catches at an occurrence in the Jezcish^ history, 
to support it ; where, we know (though he did not) 
that , all things were extraordinary, and nothing to 
l)e brought to example, any more than to imitation. 

To disgrace superstition still more, our Author 
urges " the misfortune of N id as the Athenian; 
,wljio, frightened by an eclipse of the Moon, delayed 
.his retreat till he arid his army were invested, and 
cut in pieces, by the enemy." But this kind of 
superstitious observance is as well adapted to en 
tourage as to dismay armies and bodies of men ; 
..awl. hath just as often done the one as. the other. 
So that, under this article, Plutarch should have 
.fairly stated, and balanced the account. 

* TSTO i2y xveVYiTii$ && plv vTrwpuywj Ssaj faruta* 
g TOV otcota tz^vayz^ TW xspattcti 

ovlav sv ayvaflag 
tuv *BJCte^io)y ^ifjuxxa 

) Sec. p. 204. 


From the miseries of life, He comes to the 
pleasures of it. And here too the Atheist must 
have an exclusive possession. He confesseth, "that 
the pomps and ceremonies of religious Festivals 
abound with complacency and joy." He owns " his 
Atheist can receive no further amusement from such 
a scene than to laugh at it : But to the superstitious 
man (he says) they are the subject of distress and 
misery*." Not to allow the relaxations of the 
superstitious man s mental terrors to have tlreir effect ; , 
is hard indeed. It is much the same as not to suffer 
us to feel the remissions of our bodily pains. If 
the superstitious man fancies the Gods are often 
angry, he sometimes, at least, believes them to be 
appeased. And when can he hope to find them 
in good humour, if not at their Festivals ? To draw 
him, therefore, at this season, with pale looks and 
trembling gestures, rs certainly over-charging the 
picture. The truth is, the superstitious man hath 
as strong paroxysms of joy as of grief; though 
perhaps neither so frequent nor so lasting. Yet to 
deny them to him at the celebration of his religious 
Festivals is a contradiction to ail common sense. 

Our Author next attempts to shew, That " the 
crime of impiety is rather to be charged upon tho 

f*}y (uewtw xj ffatfiuviov, yetefiat rs 
tb&o 5e &S& txp&t xaxov o 3f foifft&ttfttn &fa$M //gv, dwalcu dr 
B^w IripaJW/ifvi^- wxf<?> ^ ^ QoGurau, Stc. 
294, 295. 



superstitious man than the Atheist : for Anaxagoras, 
lie says, was accused of impiety, for holding the Sun 
to be only a red-hot stone : But nobody challenged 
the Cimmerians of that crime for denying its 
ence *." By this, our Author would insinuate, that 
it is more injurious to the Gods, to hold dishonour* 
able notions of their Nature, than to call in question 
their Iking. The opposition of these cases is witty 
and ingenious : but very defective, in the integrity 
of the application. Plutarch s philosophic Atheist 
in question, corresponds no more with the Cimmt^ 
riinis, than his Theist does with Amurag&ras. The 
Atheist, after having had a full view of the works 
of God, denies the existence of the Workman. 
The Cimmerians, because debarred, by their situa 
tion, the use of that sense w{iich alone could inform 
them of the Sun s nature, had no conception of his 
Being. In the first case, the conclusion being 
derogatory to tlje Nature of the Power denied, the 
"penier is justly charged with wipie-ty ; In the latter, 
as no such derogation is implied., no such crime can 
be reasonably inferred. But this brisk sally was 
only to introduce the famous declaration which 
follows, and hath been so often quoted by the 

*j Tr,v 

swat) (M faunutflets 3f TTIV 

S/xwtf s$uytv cursGstas 9ri TW hiQw tlnti* TOV 

z$i$ tlfttv aetsi$ art T 



2 4 6 THE DIVINE LEGATION -[Bookllf. 
modern advocates * of this paradox. " For my own 
-".part I had rather men should say of me, That 
- there neither is nor ever was such a one as 
-" Plutarch; than they should say, there .was a 
." Plutarch, an unsteady, changeable, easily-pro- 
" voked, and revengeful man." These, says the 
noble author of the Characteristics^ are the words 
vf honest Plutarch. 

V And, without doubt, did GOD stand only in that 
relation to the rest of Beings in which one creature 
stands to another; and were his existence no more 
necessary to the Universe of things than the exist 
ence of honest Plutarch, every body would say the 
same. But the KNOWLEDGE of a Creator and 
Governor is so necessary to the rational system, 
that a merciful Lord would chuse to have it retained 
and kept alive, though he might happen to be 
dishonoured by many false and absurd opinions 
- concerning his Nature and Attributes. A private 
man of generous morals might rather wish to con 
tinue unknown than to be remembered with infamy, 

* " It were better (says BACON) to have no opinion 
" of God at all, than such an opinion as is unworthy 
" of him. Plutarch saith well to that purpose. Surely 
il (saitb he) I had rather a great deal tnen should say 
* there was 710 such man as Plutarch, than that they 
" should say there rtas one Plutarch that would eat his 
" children; 3 See. Essays Civil and Moral, c. xviii. 

? . ; ... .. ; ,,.. ... 

t Characteristics ; Letter concerning Enthusiasm, 
Sect. 5. 
:;,,.; But 


But a supreme Magistrate, who loved ^Com 
munity he governed, woultf certainly prefer the 
being known to his Subjects, even at the hazard of 
their mistaking him iqr & Tyrant : because, if the 
members of a Community, through ignorance of 
their haying a Ruler, should think theuiselves free 
from subjection, every one would consult his pas 
sions and appetites, till he brought the whole into 
confusion. Whereas, while they knew they had a 
Master, their actions would be so conformed to the 
general measures of obedience as to support the 
order of Society : though their perverse notions of 
his Character might indeed obstruct many of those 
blessings which Government produces wider a Ruler 
of acknowledged justice and goodness. 

Our author proceeds; and observes next, " that 
the Atheist, it is true, bdlwcs there is no God ; 
but the superstitious man iclskes there were none : 
That the Atheist is averse to Superstition ; but the 
superstitious man, if he could, would shelter him 
self in Atheism *." It is by no means true tjhat the 
superstitious man ever desires to be free of the 
sense of a superior Being, to whom he may be 
accountable for his actions ; as appears plainly from 
his abhorrence and persecution of Atheism : All 
that he wjahetii -fe, to render such a Being propitious, 
and easily placable. 


&tffd<*i(Miv rn 

issfi Sew-; o ^s7t. p. 29 

B 4 AS 


As to our author s inference, concerning the better 
condition of Atheism, because " the Atheist never 
wisheth to be superstitious, though the superstitious 
man wisheth to be an Atheist," it is a mere sophism 3 
The proposition, on which it standeth, amounting to 
no more than this, That the Atheist doth not wish 
what is afflictive in Superstition : And the super 
stitious man doth wish what is easy, in Atheism. 
And from those restrained premises no such general 
conclusion can be logically inferred. 

But he hath found out another reason for prefer 
ring Atheism to Superstition. " Atheism, he says, 
was never the cause of Superstition ; but, on the 
contrary, Superstition has very often given birth to 
Atheism *." His meaning may be, either, that an 
Atheist did never change to a superstitious Reli 
gionist ; Or that an Atheist, while such, could never 
become superstitious. 

ther sense, fact hath shewn that the assertion 
Is utterly false. 

In the fir-it, we have seen, that it is of the essen 
tial wcaknei of humanity to run continually from 
one extreme to another. Modum tenere nescia est, 
saith the great Philosopher f very truly. And the 

nomenon is no mystery. The mind, as soon as 
ever it becomes sensible of its excesses, striveth, 
from its innate abhorrence of what is wron, to break 



Kau JAW o a$E& $Et<ridtxi{twta$ SJi^uj (ruvotin" w 3$ 
xj ytreaQxi wap8r%ev apxfiv. p. 297. 

uway from them. And the force, with, which it 
is then impelled, being increased by the struggle 
between its old prejudices, which would restrain 
it and its new aversion, which drives it on, rarely 
remits, till it arrives at the OPPOSITE EXTREME: 
The behaviour of all Ages supports this observation: 
and of none, mpre than the Present. Where a 
contempt of Revelation having for some time spread 
amongst the People, we see them now become an 
easy prey to fanaticism and superstition: and the 
METHODIST and the POPISH PRIEST succeed, with 
great ease and silence, to the ^ibertine and 

To say, that an Atheist, while he is such, cannot 
become superstitious, betrays great ignorance of 
human nature. How many Princes and Ministers 
pf State hath the history of the two or three last 
Ages delivered down to us as. Unbelievers in all 
Religion, and yet strongly devoted to the dotages 
pf judicial Astrolcgy ! The Italians, in particular, 
have not been more noted for their irrehgion and 
refined Politics, than for their credulity in this gross 
Imposture. Should I stay to enquire at large into 
the cause of so strange a phenomenon, it would 
be seen how much honour it does to Religion. At 
present I shall only observe, That these men finding 
(and none have so good opportunities) how per 
petually public events fall out beside their Expecta 
tion, and contrary to their best-laid schemes of 
Policy are forced to confess that human affairs are 



ordered by some power exIrmsicaL To 
ledge a God ami Ms Providence would be the 
way to introduce a jiwrallty destructive of that 
public ty stem, which they think necessary for the 
government of the World. They have recourse 
therefore to that absurd scheme of Power, which 
rules by no other Law than-Jlzftror Destiny* 

I have now gone thro ugh cm* Author s y 
arguments in support of his Paradox ; or. to call 
them by their right name, a group of 3J-ec*aabined 
sophisms, tricked off by his -eloquence. OF varnished 
over with his wit. 

But there is one BI ASTER- SOPHISM still behind,. 
that animates the Whole, and -gives a false vigour 
to every Part Let ns consider the question -which 
Pletarch invites his reader to debate with him. It 
is not, What the simpk qualities of Atheism aad 
Superstition, if found alone in man, are severally 
capable of producing : but what each really dofch 
produce, as each is, in fact, found mingled with the 
rest of man s passions and appetites, He should 
not, therefore, have amnsed us with inferences from 
the abstract ideas of Atheism and Superstition; 
but should have examined their effects in the- con 
crete, a& they are to be found in the Atfwtst, and 
in -the superstitious man. For, nature having sown 
in the human breast the seeds of various .and differ 
ing .passions and appetites, the ruling passion, in 
each Character, is no more in \\s- simfk-, unmixed 
23 state, 

State, than the predominant colour in a well- nought 
picture : Both the passion and the cdow are so 
darkened or dissipated by surrounding light and 
shade so changed and varied by the reflector, of 
neighbouring tints, as to produce very different 
efferts from what, in their separate and simple 
whether real or imaginary, they were capable of 
affordin" *. Let the reader apply this observation 
to any part of Plutarch s Declamation, who const 
ders Atheism and Superstition not in the concrete, 
but in the abstract only, and it will presently expose 
the inconsequence of his reasoning. I will but just 
mve an example, in one instance. He prefers 
Atheism to Superstition, "because this is attended 
with passion ; that* free from all passion." Now 
the only support of this remark is the sophism in 
question. Consider the ideas of Atheism and Su 
perstition in the abstract, and tfcre is a shew ot 
truth : for Superstition, simply, implying the fea 
of the gods, is, of the essence of lu&ion; and 
Atheism, simply, implying the denial ?/ their exist 
ence includes nothing of the idea ot pasaon.- but 
consider these moral modes in the concrete, as m 
this question we ought to do, and Atheism w,U be 
always found accompanied with passion or affection; 
and of as uneasy a kind, perhaps, as Superstition. 
It is of no moment, to this discourse, whether 
Plutarch hath here imposed upon himself or his 

* See note ILL] at the .end of this Book. 


reader. It is possible, that, In the drawing his two 
characters, he might imitate, or be misled by, TUEO^ 
PHRA-STUS : Whose various pourtraits have all this 
fundamental defect That is, if we understand 
them as given for copies of any thing really existing. 
But, I apprehend> this is not their true character. 
I rather think This curious fragment of Antiquity 
was only the remains of a Prowptuary for the use 
of the COMIC POET, from whence he might U0 
supplied with his materials, the simple passions ; iri 
order to blend, and shade, and work them into his 
pictures of real life and manners. However, if 
Plutarch considered them under the common ijdea, 
and, under that, would make them his model v he 
shewed as little judgment as tha,t painter would he 
found to do, wb/o should apply his simple colour^ 
just as he received them from the colounnan ; with 
out forming them into, those curious. 

c Lights and shades, whose well-accorded strife 

Gives all the strength and colour of our Hie." 

To proceed with our author s Argument, : It is, 
directed, we see, to shew the advantage of Atheism 
above Superstition, only as these opinions and 
practices regard PARTICULARS: Though, by the 
turn and management of his reasoning, he appears 
willing, you should infer tha,t the same advantage 
holds equally, with regard to SOCIETY also: And 
therefore he concludes, " That it had been better 
far the Gauls and Scythians to be without any 



Religion, than to have had such a one as taught 
them to believe that the Gods- delighted in the blood 
of human victims : And much better for Carthage 
to have had the Atheists, Critias and Diagoras, for 
Lawgivers, than such as those who authorized the 
Sacrifices performed to Saturn*." The sophisms 
which support these assertions are fully exposed in 
the introductory observation to these remarks ; and 
*o, stand in need of no further detection. 

Lord BACON S chapter on Superstition, in his 
Kssays civil and moral, is no other than an epitome 
of this tract of Plutarch. Now whether that great 
man thought his Original defective, in not attempting 
to shew the advantage of Atheism over Superstition, 
as well with regard to Society as to Particulars; 
Or whether he thought, that though his Author did 
Attempt it, yet he was too concise and obscure; and 
therefore judged it expedient to comment on his 
hints ; It is remarkable, that he addresses himself 
very strenuously, to make out this important point. 
" Atheism (saith his lordship) did never perturb 
,- w States ; for it makes men wary of themselves, 
" as lookin no farther: And we see, the times 

- CJfo afiEivov ax w Taharcut Itvo:? 

Zwaav #v 9ewv, ftojre paylajr/av, pyre iroqov, r, 

;0x<fw7<z avfyuyruv QotTicpzwv cufMzffi T/ Je 
wt ehvo-tistet fyiriav *acnv rj Atayofay vapdsTtv aTr 
TWO, uv pyre foiftoW xc^fe<y ; rj TQIOVTU MSN oJa 7 
p. 297. 



" inclined to Atheism, as the time of Augustus 
" Ctesar, were civil times. But Superstition hath 
** been the confusion of many States ; and bringeth 
" in a new primum mobile, that ravisheth all the 
4C spheres of Government. The Master of Super- 
" stition is the People." 

This is a paragraph totally unworthy so great 
a Genius. Atheism, he says, did never perturb 
States. The observation might, perhaps, pass for 
true, when he wrote. But, true or false, to make 
it to his purpose, he must suppose, that this negative 
advantage ariseth from the essential nature and 
intrinsic quality of Atheism, and not from mere 
accident ; and so he plainly insinuates, in the reason 
subjoined For it makes men wary of themselves, 
&c. but falsely. It is not from the nature of things, 
.but by mere accident, that Atheism never perturbed 
States ; it having rarely, or never, spread amongst 
the People, but hath been confined to a few specu 
lative men. If ever it should become thus extensive, 
if ever it should infect the Sovereign, it must not 
only perturb States (as we have sad experience that 
it does, even under its negative form of IRRELIGJON) 
but, as we have shewn at large *, would certainly 
pverturn Society. Indeed his Lordship himself 
fairly confesseth thus much, where, charging . this 
very mischief On Superstition, he subjoins the, cause 
of its malignity fAe Master of Superstition is* the 

* Book I. Sect, iv, 



People, i. e. the people are they who are infected 
with this -error. Athetmz, he say s^ >makcs men wary 
*f therm dves, as looking m further ; This argument 
in favour of Atheism seems to ; have foeen borrowed 
from CARDAN ; and (as miserable as it is) hath been 
considered ki its place*. 

Tke/ihms^ WcMed ] tv Atheism, \\v&^ were- civil 
times: I know of no times kiclbed to Atheism; 
that is, when the people had & propensity to it) 
unless, perh&ps, two or three centuries ago in Italy; 
and then the times were as miserable as civil dis 
tractions could make a bad and uicked Govern- 
-ment. His Lordship, indeed, refers to the age ^f 
Augastiis Gsesar. But it is certain, that, at th^t 
time, no Roman troubled his head with Grecian 
principles, (and Atheism was then to be had m 
where else) except it were a few of the Nobility; 
Then, indeed, part of their Grandees, to make 
themselves easy under Servitude, espoused the prin 
ciples of EPICUUUS: But a much larger part fol 
lowed the doctrine of the PORCH. Either served 
their turn. If they could persuade themselves to 
believe that their miseries were inevitable, it was just 
as well as if they could force themselves to think 
that these miseries were no evils. The soft, the 
delicate, the luxurious, espoused the first : The 
more rigid, and severe of morals, the latter. Bat 
still we must observe that their p in N c I PL E s were 

., * 
, * See Vol. I. p. 228, 


the effect of their acquiescence in a state of Ser- 
vitude; not the cause ; as his lordship would insi 
nuate: And did then, in reality, no more concern 
the Public, than their different tastes for mid-boar 
or mullets. 

The time of Augustus C&sar, he says, H,YW a civil 
time. And this must be placed to the score of 
Atheism, although other causes be so very obvious : 
The miseries of the preceding civil wars, in sup-* 
port of Liberty, often renewed, with still greater 
violence, and still less success, made men weary 
both of struggling and suffering ; and willing, at 
last, to thrust their necks under the yoke of a well- 
established Master^ And this, together with the 
want of Instruments (for the general slaughter of 
them had made Confusion cure itself) were the 
real causes which, in the ceaseless round of hu 
man actions, produced that still calm of real 
Slavery, after a long tempestuous season of nominal 

However, the general observation we made on 
PLUTARCH may be well applied to BACON : What 
he wants in fact and argument, he makes up in wk, 
and the ornaments of fancy : as where he says, 
Superstition bringeth in a new primum mobile, that 
TOiisketh all the spheres of government. By which 
pompous figure, borrowed of the Peripatetic Philo 
sophy, no more is meant than the Churclimans 
destructive claim of independency on the State ; 
which conceals a vile ambition under the cloak 


of Religion: A claim, which, at that time, those 
two capital enemies of tlic established Church, the 
PAPIST and the P.UIUTAN, alike pursued; as then 
to the disturbance, so, wherever they succeed, to tiie 
certain ruin of civil Government. 

But to return to Plutarch, and -conclude. The 
only sage part of his Declamation is in his last 
words ; where he observes, " That, for the reasons 
he hath given, we ought to shun and avoid SUPER 
STITION ; but so cautiously, as not to fall into the 
other extreme of ATHEISM- like those giddy tra 
vellers, who flying from wild beasts and robbers, fall 
down rocks and precipices, where they perish *. n 
But to inforce so plain a conclusion, there was no 
need of all that expence of wit and sophistry to 
prove (what the conclusion did not want) That 
Atheism was in all things preferable to Superstition. 
To proceed, 

III. As to the Inventors -of Religion,, their not 
believing what they taugJit concerning it, which is 
ithe last pretence, This comes with an ill grace from 
an Atheist, who, under cover of an unquestionable 
maxim, That, in matters of speculation, reason aijd 
not authority .should determine the judgment, der 

* $suxlsw av OUTW ayQa&JSfe TE Y^ trvfjufs^ovSug, 8% 

yap zvvet 

TY,V dsirt&UfMVieffj efuriTrluffiV tl$ ofavnRct T^a^xfiatv *y 
, wrsfgndrtU aifles iv pzru Kvpivw TTIV tfo&&. p. 298. 

VQL. III. ^ spisctJ} 

spiseth all Authority, so as to. oppose his own sin 
gularities against the common voice of mankind. 
Was it true, then, that the Inventors did not believe 
what they taught, this would be seen to be a very 
poor argument against the truth of Religion. 

But indeed, the supposition is absolutely false; 
and betrays gross ignorance of the true character 
of the ancient Lawgivers. The idea, our adversaries 
have formed of these Civilizers of mankind (as men 
are but too apt, in their representations of others, to 
copy from themselves) is of a species of sly cold- 
headed Cheats, whose capacity arose only from the 
predominancy of their phlegm. But the History 
of all times might have told them, that, amongst 
the infirmities of Heroes, a deficiency of Faith is 
not one. Diockrus was so sensible of their pro 
pensity to be on the believing side, that he makes 
it a question, Whether those ancient Lawgivers 
whom he there enumerates, did not really believe 
the divine Mission they professed to execute ? 

They did this (says he) either because they really 
thought that the conceptions which they had formed, 
so productive of public good, must needs be strictly 
supernatural and divine *." -And I may venture 
to atfii\n, That there never was a great Conqueror, 
a Founder of Cecil Policy, or. the Preacher up of 
v new Religion, (if he succeeded by mere human 
means) but who was naturally much inclined to 

ufsto.wv avfysuruv w^~, sirs. 1. i. p. 50. S. E. 



]tfT.tfUs-iASM. Not that I suppose the beat of 
Enthusiasm is not always tempered, in Heroes, with 
an equal share of CUAFT mid policy. This extra 
ordinary composition makes their true character. 1 : 
A. cnaracter so much better conceived than ex* 
pressed, that it hath embarrassed the pen even of 
a Lrvr to delineate correctly *. 

But the necessity of this odd-paired union ap 
pears plainly from the nature of tilings. A mere 
cold-headed Contriver, .without any tincture of na 
tural enthusiasm, can never succeed in his designs* 

G 9 

because such a One can never supply those sur 
prising freaks, which a heated imagination, working 
on a disordered, though, for this purpose, Jitly- 
f ramed temper of body, so speciously exhibits. 
For the spirits of -.the PEOPLE, who are to be taken 
in, can -never be allured but by raising their Admi 
ration, and keeping up their confidence, by the aid 
of an inspired Leader. Besides, new doctrines and 
new ideas are uever BO readily received as when the 
Teacher of them is in earnest, and believes himself: 
for then thereis something so natural in his conduct, 
so alluring in his behaviour, as easily conciliates 
wavering opinions ; and acts, on his followers, like 
fascination,, or a ..charm. This made an ingenioue 
French writer not scruple to say : " Give me but 
" half a dozen men whom I can thoroughly per- 
* suade that it is not the Sun makes the day, -and 

* See note [MM] at the end of this Took. 

s 2 "I woulql 


" I would not despair of seeing whole nations 
" brought over to the same opinion *." 

On the other hand, a mere Enthusiast, who by 
virtue of his fanaticism, hath gone so far in his pur 
pose, as to raise the admiration, and captivate the 
spirits of the Populace, must here begin to fail for 
want of the other quality, of sectarian craft , for 
his imagination not being under the government of 
his judgment, he will want the proper dexterity to 
apply the different views, tempers, and stations of 
the People, now enflamed, and ready to become 
his instruments for the attainment of his purpose. 

But when these two talents of Fraud and Fana 
ticism unite to furnish out a Hero, or Leader of 
a sect, great will be the success of his undertakings. 
The sallies of enthusiasm will be so corrected by 
his cunning, as to strengthen and confirm his super 
natural pretences : And the cold and slow advances 
of a too cautious policy, will be warmed and pushed 
forward by the force of his fanaticism. His craft 
will enable him to elude the enquiries and objections 
of the more rational ; and his visions will irrecove 
rably subdue all the warmer noddles. In a word, 
they will mutually strengthen and inforce each 
other s power; and cover and repair each other s 

* Donncz moi une demi-dozaine de personncs, a qui 
je pttisse persuader que ce n cst pas le Soleil qui fait Ic 
jour, je ne desesperai pas que dcs nations entierrs 
n einbrassent cette opinion. Fontcnelle, Hist, cles 
Oracles, cap. xi. 


defects. St. Jerom seems to have had some idea 
of this extraordinary combination, when he said, 
" Ntillus potest Haeresm struere, nisi qui ARDEN- 
TIS IN GEN ii est, et habet POX A NATURE/ 
Which may be thus paraphrased, No Heretic will 
ever be able to raise a Sect, but he, in tvhcse con 
stitution Nature hath enabled Fraud and Fana 
ticism to act in concert. And indeed, there are so 
many powerful and opposite interests to overcome 
and reconcile, so much caprice and humour to 
cajole, and artfully to apply ; that it is not strange, 
if no one ever yet succeeded in any great design, 
where a whole People was the instrument, who had 
not reconciled in himself, by a happy union, these 
two qualities seemingly incompatible. 

Several things concur to facilitate this conjunction. 
An Enthusiast considers himself as an instrument 
employed by Providence to attain some great End, 
for the sake of which he was sent out. This makes 
him diligent in his Work; impatient under let or 
impediment, and disposed to practise every means 
for removing them. Persuaded of the necessity 
of the END, and of the reality of the divine Com 
mission intrusted to him, for procuring it, he begins 
to fancy that One so employed, is dispensed with, 
in breaking, nay is authorized to break, the Corn* 
mon- Law of Morality ; which, in the cant of that 
fatal time when ^Fanaticism had its full swing 
amongst us, was called the BEING ABOVE ORDI- - 
NANCES. In the first application of these extraordi- 

s 3 nary 

nary MEANS, the People are the dupes of their 
Leader: But the success being frequently even 
beyond his own expectation, he becomes, in his turn, 
the Dupe of his own contrivance; and begins in 
good earnest to believe that the trick which he 
played them was indeed not of his own invention,, 
but the inspired instigation of Heaven *. This may 
serve to explain an obscure passage of Tacitus, 
where speaking of this sort of Character, he says, in 
To confirm all this, it might be easily made appear, 
by an historical deduction from. ancient and modern 
Times, that all those successful Disturbers or Bene 
factors of mankind, who have prospered in their 
designs, were indebted for their good fortune to 
the mutual assistance of these two Qualities. By 
this operation, under the management of such 
CROMWELL, great and powerful Empires have been 
created out of nothing. 


And again, it might be shewn, that those, who 
are upon the records of History for having failed, 
were either mere Enthusiasts, who knew not how 
to push their projects, when they had disposed the 
People to support them ; or else mere Politicians, 
uho could never advance their wise schemes so far, 
as to engage a fanatic Populace to second them ; 
or lastly, which most deserves our observation, such 

- See note [NN] at the end of this Book, 


as had the two qualities in conjunction, but in a 
.reverted order. Of each of which defects, we have 
domestic examples in the three great Companions 
of the last successful Imposture, mentioned above; 
CROMWELL had prepared the way for their suc 
cession to his power, as thoroughly as Mahomet 
had done for that of Abubeker, Omar, and Othman. 
Yet these various wants defeated all their efforts, 
and rendered all his preparations fruitless. Fleet- 
wood was a frank enthusiast, without parts or capa 
city ; Lambert a cool contriver, without fanaticism ; 
and Sir Harry Vam, who had great parts, and as 
great enthusiasm, yet had them, and used them, in 
so preposterous an order as to do him no kind of 
service. For the history of those times informs us, 
that he began a sober and sedate plotter : But, 
when now come in view of the goal, he started out 
the wildest and most extravagant of Fanatics : In 
a word, he ended just where his MASTER began: 
so that we need not wonder his fortune proved so 
different. But this was a course as rare as it ap 
pears to be retrograde. The affections naturally 
keep another order. And the reason is evident, 
Enthusiasm is a kind of ebullition, or critical 
ferment of the Mind ; which a vigorous nature can 
work through ; and, by slow degrees, be abte to 
cast off. Hence the most successful Impostors, as 
we say, have set out in all the blaze of Fanaticism, 
and completed their schemes amidst the cool depth 

s 4 

and stillness of Politics, Though this be common 
to them all, yet I don t know any who exemplifies 
it so strongly as the fomous IGNATIUS LOJOLA. 
This illustrious personage, who confirms the obser 
vation of one who came after him *, and almost 
equalled him in his trade, " that a man never rises 
so high as when he docs not know whither he is 
going/ 7 began his ecstasies in the mire: and com 
pleted his schemes with the direction and execution 
of Councils, that, even in his own lifetime, were 
ready to give the law to Christendom. Yea, the 
same spirit of Enthusiasm so regulated and con 
ducted, is no less serviceable to Nations and to 
Bodies of Men than it is to particulars. This built 
tip old and new ROME, Profane history tells us, 
that when the City had not six miles of dominion 
beyond its Walls, it indulged the dream of UNI 
VERSAL MONARCHY; and we learn by the cede- 
nautical, that when the jurisdiction of the Bishops of 
Home extended not beyond a small Diocese, they 
entertained the celestial vision of a POPEDOM. 
And it was this spirit, which, in defiance, and to 
the destruction, of Civil Policy and Religion, made 
the fortune of Both. 

But these things belong rather to the History 
of the human Mind than to the work I have in 
hand : and besides, would keep me totf long from the 
conclusion of the volume f , to which I am now 

* CROMWELL, f The 2d vol. of the Edit, in Svo, 1 766. 



hastening. I will only observe, that this high 
Enthusiasm was so conspicuous in the character 
of ancient Heroism, and so powerful in making easy 
the most difficult undertakings, that the learned 
Varro scruples not to say, " It is of great advantage 
" to Society, that Heroes should believe themselves 
" the offspring of the Gods, whether indeed they 
" be so or not. That by this means, the mind, 
u confiding in its divine original, may rise above 
" Humanity; so as more sublimely to project, 
* more boldly to execute, and more happily to 
u establish the grand schemes it labours with, for 
" the service of mankind *." 

Hence it appears, that if Religion were a cheat, 
the LEGISLATORS themselves were among the first 
who fell into the deceit. 

On the whole then we see, That of all these 
mediums, whereby our adversaries would infer that 
Religion is false, because invented by Statesmen, 
the third, which is most to their purpose, proves 
nothing : While, of the other two, \hejirst is a high 
presumption of its truth ; and the second, a demon 
stration of it. 

* Utile est civitatibus, ut se viri fortes, ctiamsi falsum 
sit, ex diis genitos esse credant, ut eo modo animus hu- 
maims, velut divinae stirpis fiduciain gerens, res maguas 
aggrediendas prscsumat audacius, agat vehementius, & 
ob hoc impleat ipsa securitate felicius. Apud Aug. 
Civ. Dei, 1. iii. c. 4. 

I have 

I have said, that it was (I don t know how) taken 
on all hands for granted, that the invention of Reli 
gion by Politicians inferred its falsehood. But, on 
second thoughts, I am persuaded, the too great 
facility in agreeing to this conclusion arose from 
iicnce ; The popular argument of the innate idea 
of God, had been for many ages esteemed a demon 
stration of his Being and attributes : And the 
political origin of Religion overthrowing that argu 
ment, it was too hastily concluded that it overthrew 
the truth of Religion in general : For prejudice 
had established this consequence, If no innate idea 
cf God y Then no God at all. 


But now, although (as hath been proved) the 
granting this infidel pretence cloth not at all affect the 
truth of NATURAL RELIGION ; yet it doth by acci 
dent, and by accident only, affect the truth of HE VE 
XATION : Because Holy Scripture hath given us a 
different account of the origin of divine worship. 

I shiill shew therefore, in the next place, that the 
Notion is as false and visionary, as it is vain and 
impertinent ; first, by examining the circumstances 
from which its pretended truth is interred ; and 
secondly, by producing plain matter of fact to 
the contrary. 

I. The first of these circumstances is, That the 

Lawgiver employed his utmost fains and labour in 

1 1 teaching, 


teaching, propagating, and establishing Religion, 
But what can be inferred from this, but -that lie 
employed his pains from a full conviction of its 
ntility? And how should he come by that convic 
tion, but from observing the effects of its influence 
on the actions of men? Which must needs sup 
pose him to have found, and not to have invented 

If this argument against Religion hath any weight, 
we must conclude the Magistrate was not only the 
inventor of natural RELIGION, but of natural 
JUSTICE likewise; for he took the same pains i 
teaching, propagating, and establishing both. But 
will any one pretend to say, that men, in a state 
of nature, had no ideas of justice? Indeed, both 
one and the other liad lost much of their efficacy, 
when men applied to the civil Magistrate for relief : 
And this explains the reason why, on their entering 
into Society, the Legislator was always so intent 
upon RELIGION ; namely, that he might recover it 
from the powerless condition, to which it was then- 

It will be said, perhaps, that the Atheist doth, 
in fact, contend, that natural justice was an inven 
tion of Politicians, as well as Religion* We have 
seen, indeed, a Countryman of our own, who hath 
jnade this proposition the foundation of his Phi 
losophy, that Just and Unjust arose from the Civil 
Magistrate. But then, he never supposed, that 
men,, before Society, had no idea of these things : 


All he would contend for was, that the idea (when 
arid wherever got before) was merely fantastic. 

II. The other, and more peculiar circumstance 
from which our adversaries inter their paradox, is ? 
that thejirtt and original idolatry was the worship 
of DEAD MEX : And these being Lawgivers, Ma 
gistrates, and public Benefactors, Religion appears 
to have been a political Institution. So amongst the 
Ancients. EUHEMERUS, surnamed the Atheist^ 
wrote a treatise to prove that the Jirst gods of 
Greece were dead men ; which, Cicero, who saw his- 
drift, rightly observed, tended to overturn all Reli 
gion *. And so, amongst the Moderns, TOLAND, 
the pious author of the PANTHEIST I CON, with the 
same design, wrote a pamphlet, intilled, Of the 
origin of Idolatry, and reasons of Heathenism. 
It is not unpleasant to observe the uniform conduct 
of this noble pair of writers, which one never fails 
to find in authors of a like character, how distant 
soever in time or country. Euhemerus pretended his 
design "was only to expose the popular religion of 
Greece ; and Toland, that his great learning was 
only pointed against Pagan idolatry : While the real 
end of both was the destruction of Religion in 

It must be owned, that this circumstance, of the 

Jirst ami original idolatry y hath a face (but a very 

false one) of plausibility ; being manifestly founded 

* Isat. Dcor. I. i. c. 4-2. 


on this sophism, That the Jirst Idolatry, and the 
first religious worship, arc one and the same thing. 
Whereas, it is not only possible that the worship of 
thejirst Cause of all things should be prior to any 
Idol worship-, hut, in the highest degree, probable 
that it was : Idol worship having none of the marks 
of an original practice ; and all the circumstances 
attending a depraved and corrupt Institution. 

But it being utterly false that the worship of dead 
men was the primitive Idolatry, \Ve shall endeavour 
to convince these men of a FACT they are so un 
willing to see or acknowledge. 

I was pleased to find a book, like this of 
Toland s, written professedly on the subject ; being 
irfliopes to meet with something like argument or 
learning, that would justify an examination of it: 
For an answer to a licentious writer arrests the atten 
tion of common readers, better than general rea 
soning, though this goes more directly to the fact, 
and determines the question with greater precision. 
But I had the mortification to find nothing there but 
an indigested heap of common-place quotations 
from the Ancients , and an unmeaning collection 
of common-place reflections from modern infidels ; 
without the least seasoning of logic or criticism, to 
justify the waste of time to the Reader, or to make 
the labour supportable to one s self. And the 
authority of the man, which is nothing, could not 
engage me to any farther notice of his book. But 
another, whose name stands justly highest in the 


learned world, and whose heart was as unlike 
this writers as his head, seems to be of the same 
opinion concerning the primitive idolatry. It is 
the incomparable NEWT.OX in his Chronology of 
the Greeks. His words are these: " JEacus the 
son of JEgina, who was two generations older 
" than the Trojan war, is by some reputed one of 
" the first who built a temple in Greece. Oracles 
came first from Egypt into Greece about the 
" same time, as also did the custom of forming the 
" images of the gods with their legs boiuid tip in 
" the shape of the Egyptian mummies: For iDOr 
" LATRY began in Cbaldasa and Egypt, and spread 
6 thertce, eye. The countries upon the Tigris and 
" the Nile being exceeding fertile, were first fre- 
" quented by mankind, and grew first into king- 
" doms, and therefore began first to adore their 
fi dead kings and queens *." This great man, we 
see, takes it for granted, that the worship of dead 
men was the FIIIST kind of idolatry : And so only 
insinuates a reason for this supposed feet, namely,, 
that the worship of dead .men introduced image 
worship: For, the Egyptians first worshipped dead 
men hi person, that is, in their mummies \ ; which 
when lost, consumed, or destroyed, were worshipped 
by representation, under an image rn^ide icith Us 
legs bound up, in likeness of the mummies. The 

* Chronology of ancient Kingdoms, p. 160. 

t See Book IV. Plate IX. fig. 1,2, & 3 compared 



reader now will be curious to know how this infers 
the other, that the worship of dead men was the 
primitive idolatry ? All I can say to it is, that the 
excellent person seems to have put the change upon 
himself, in supposing image worship inseparably 
attendant on idolatry in general ; when it was but 
commonly attendant on //ero- worship ; and rarely 
upon the Elementnry, As to the elementary, 
Herodotus tells us that the Persians, who worship 
ped the celestial bodies, had no statues of their Gock 
at all : And as to Hero-worship, we are assured 
by Dionysius Halicarnasseus, that the Romans, 
whose Gods were dead men deified, worshipped 
them, during some ages, without statues. 

But to come closer to the point: Our Adversaries 
overturn their position, on the very entrance on the 
question. The grand symbol of the Atheistic school 

" Primus in orbc Deos fecit timor." 

And yet, if we will believe them, these first gods 
were dead men, deified for their PUBLIC BENEFITS 
to their country or mankind : " Not only (says 
" Toland) kings and queens, great generals and 
legislators, the patrons of learning, promoters 
" of curious arts, and authors of useful inventions, 
" partook of this honour; but also such private 
" persons, as by their virtuous actions had distin- 
" guished themselves from others *." 

* Letters to Serena, Tract of the Origin of Idolatry, 

P a S- 73- 


But to pass this over. Their great principle of 
FEAR is every way destructive of their System; 
For those very ages of the world, in which TEAR. 
jnost prevailed, and was the predominant passion 
of mankind, were the times BEFORE civil society ; 
when every man s hand was against his brother. 
If fear then was the origin of Religion, Religion, 
without question, was BEFORE civil Society, 

But neither to insist upon this : Let us hear what 
the ancient Theists thought of the matter. They 
said it was LOVE, and not FEAR, which was the 
origin of Religion. Thus Seneca : " Nee in hunc 
" furorem omnes mortales consensissent alloquendi 
" surda nuinina inefficaces deos ; nisi nossent 
" illorum BENEFICIA mine ultro oblata, nunc 
4i orantibus data ; magna, tempestiva, ingentes minas 
C intcrventu sco solventia. Quis est autem tarn 
" miser, tarn neglectus, quis tarn cluro fato, & in 
" poenam gcnitus, ut non tantam deoruin muni- 
cc ficentiam senserit? Ipsosillos comploran tcs sortcrn 
" suam, & querulos circumspice, invenies non ex 
" toto beneficiorum coelestium cxpertes; neminem 
" csse, ad quern non aliquid ex ilio BENIGXISSOIO 
FONTE manaverit **" 

But as HOPE and FEAR, LOVE and HATRED, are 
the cardinal hinges, on which all human actions and 
cogitations turn, I suppose it was neither one nor 
other of these passions alone, but both of them 
together, which opened to those early Mortals 

* DC Bencf. 1. iv. c. 4. 



(whose uncultivated reason had not yet gained the 
knowledge, or whose degenerate manners had now 
lost the tradition of the TRUE GOD) the first idea 
of superior Beings. 

I. Such men, in a state of nature, whose sub 
sistence was immediately to be supplied by the pro 
duct of the earth, would be exact observers of what 
facilitated or retarded those supplies: So that of 
course, the grand genial Power of the system, that 
visible God the SUN, would be soon regarded by 
them as a most beneficent Deity : And thunder and 
lightning, storms and tempests, which his Qualities 
produced, would be considered as the effects of his 
an<*er. The rest of the celestial Orbs would, in 


proportion to their use and appearance, be regarded 
in the same light. That noble fragment from 
SANCHONIATHO, quoted above* , as part of the 
History rehearsed in the aVo ppMIa of the Mysteries, 
gives this very original to Idolatry. It tells us that 
" Genos and Genea (begotten of the two first 
mortals, Protogonus and jEon) in the time of 
great droughts, stretched out their hands towards 
the SUN, whom they regarded as a God, and sole 
Ruler of the heavens. After two or three gene 
rations, came Upsouranios and his brother Ousous. 
These consecrated two pillars to FIRE and WIND, 
and then offered bloody sacrifices to them, as to 

* Div. Leg. Vol. II. p. 37, 
VOL. III. T Gods." 

Gods." This is a very natural account of the 
origin and FIRST species of Idolatry. That it is 
the true, we shall now endeavour to shew. 

1 . Those ancient people of the North and South, 
the Suevi, the Arabs, and Africans, who lived long 
uncivilized, and in tribes, were all worshippers of 
the celestial bodies. The same appears to have 
been the case of the Chinese ; of the North 
Americans ; and of the people of Mexico and 
Peru ; as may be collected from what is said above, 
of their first Lawgivers pretending to be the off 
spring of the Sun and Heaven*: For we may be 
assured they had the sense to chuse a well-esta 
blished authority, under which to set up their own 

2. But all Antiquity concurs in asserting, that 
the first religious adoration, paid to the Creature, 
was the worship of heavenly Bodies. This was 
so evident, and so universally acknowledged, that 
CRITIAS himself, as we see f, was forced to 
allow its truth. And this being the entire over 
throw of his system of the origin of religion, nothing 
but the fullest evidence could have extorted the con 
fession from him. 

* Le SOLEIL est la divinite ties peuples de I Amerique, 
sans en excepter aucun de ceux qui nous sont connus. 
Lafitau, Maws des sauvagesAmeriquains, tom.i. p. 130. 

f See his Iambics above. 



To support so manifest a point with a long heap 
of quotations, would be trifling with the reader s 

To cut the matter short, EUSEBIUS expressly 
affirms, and attempts to strengthen his position by 
an etymology of the word EOS, that no L-eings 
were anciently accounted Gods or divine, neither 
dead mc v n, nor demons good or bad ; but the STARS 
of heaven only *. 

But as GREECE and EGYPT, the two Countries 
where civil Policy took deepest root, and spread its 
largest influence, had, by the long custom of deifying 
their public Benefactors, so erased the memory of a 
prior idolatry, as to have this second species of it, by 
some moderns, deemed ilie Jlrst ; 1 shall produce 
an ancient testimony or two, of the highest credit, 
to shew that the adoration of the celestial Bodies 
was the first idol-worship in those two grand Nur 
series of Superstition, as well as in all other places. 

i. IT APPEARS TO ME (says Plato in his Cm- 



*" Ah\ on (jisv 01 isrguTOi x^ TvaXa .oTdloi T&V ctvQotuTrcav, X 
uv olxofaiMoug TcpoasT^ov on tie &e ruvpera Tctvra xxluyoftztrpsv 

>cj fyuw (XtYifAH ri$ roT$ Tols vjafiv, XT v TIC w a jroi$ 
x Kpov-, &C. a^Xa x3s dcufjuav rig aya9o<;, YI q>a,vh&- kv avQgu- 
(J.QVO, 3e TO, <pcuvo[Asva TOJV xpaviuv Arouv, ^ctca TO 

Praep. Evang. J. i. c. 9. 




HEAVEN *. The barbarians here hinted at, were 
both such as remained in, and such as had got out 
of, the state of nature. As first, the civilized 
Persians, of whom HERODOTUS gives this account : 
" They worship the Sun, Moon, and Earth, Fire, 
" Water, and the Winds : And this adoration they 
" -have all along paid from the very beginning. 
" Afterwards, indeed, they learned to worship 
" Urania t," fyc. And so goes on to speak of their 
later idolatry of dead mortals. Secondly, the savage 
Africans, of whom the same Herodotus says, "They 
" worship only the Sun and Moon : The same do 
" all the Africans ." 

2. DIODORUS SICULUS, speaking of the EGYP 


Qalvovloti ftoi o 5Tf STOI ruv avdfunav nep Triv Ex>a&* TST; 
$8f weiffQcu, oWff vvv vsoMoi TOJV pxfixfuv. "HAiov, xj 
wwiv, *J r>iv, ^ "Arpx, xj Ovpavov. 

uwi & "H?u re xj SrXv>i, xj Fji, x) Ilvf 1, xj * 

J rj Ovfceviy Susiv. 1. i. c. 131. 

J j/acr< 3e "H^/w xj SE^JVJJ pawn* TSTOUTI <itV vvv vsa 
i. l.iv. c. 188. 



GODS *. The reason which the historian assigns, 
makes his assertion general ; and shews he believed 
this idolatry to he tliejirst every where else, as well 
as in EGYPT. But that it was so there, we have 
likewise good internal evidence, from a circumstance 
in their hieroglyphics, the most ancient method 
of recording knowledge : Where, as we are told hy 
Horus Apollo, a STAR denoted or expressed the idea 
of the DEITY|. 

Such was the genius and state of Idolatry in the 

UNCIVILIZED world. So that the Author of the 

book called, The Wisdom of Solomon, said well, 

Surely vain are all men by nature who are igno- 

4 rant of God ; and could not by considering 

" the Work, acknowledge the Work-master: but 

" deemed either FIRE or WIND, or the swift air, 

" or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, 

" or the LIGHTS OF HEAVEN, to be the GODS 

" which govern the World ." 

II. But when now SOCIETY had produced those 
mighty blessings, which exalt our brutal nature to a 
life of elegance and reason ; and, in exchange for 
penury, distress, and danger, had established safety, 

TO wateiw yivo(AEVx$ avaS^avlas e/j rov 
xotrpov, xj rrjv TUV ofcuv Qwv xalaTTtetyenas *j $owpa<ravias, 
i% 5 TE xj ^UT^, TOV TE "Hfcw xj 2c- 


t Arf vctf Aiyvrfliois y^a^iv^- &w mpouvti, 1. ii. c. 1. 
J Chap. xiii. i, 2. 

T3 and 

and procured all the accommodations of Civil in 
tercourse, the RELIGIOUS system received as great, 
though far from so advantageous, a change as the 


1. GRATITUDE and ADMIRATION, the warmest 
and most active affections of our nature, concurred 
to enlarge the object of Religious worship ; and to 
make men regard those BENEFACTORS OF HUMAN 
NATURE, the Founders of Society, as having more 
in them than a common ray of the Divinity. So 
that, god-like benefits bespeaking, as it were, a god 
like Mind, the deceased PARENT OF A PEO?LE 
easily advanced into an IMMORTAL. From hence 
arose, though not till some time after, their meta 
physical distribution of Souls into the several classes 
of human, heroic, and demonic. A distinction which 
served greatly to support this species of Idolatry. 

2. When the religious bias was in so good a train, 
NATURAL AFFECTION would have its share iu 
advancing this new mode of Adoration. PIETY TO 
PARENTS would easily take the lead; as it was supr 
ported by gratitude and admiration, the primum 
mobile of this whole system : The natural Father 
of the Tribe often happening to be the political 
lather of the People, and Founder pf the State. 

have its turn. And a disconsolate Father, at the 
head of a People, would contrive to sooth his grief 
for the untimely death of a favourite child, and to 


gratify bis pride under the want of Succession, by 
paying divine honours to its memory. For a 
" Father afflicted with untimely mourning, when he 
" had made an image of his child, soon taken away, 
." now honoured him as a God, which was then a 
" dead man, and delivered, TO THOSE THAT WERE 
" UNDER HIM, ceremonies and sacrifices*." 

4. Lastly, the SUBJECT S REVERENCE for his 
Master, the CITIZEN S VENERATION for the Law- 
oiver, would not be far behind, to complete this 
.religious Farce of mistaken gratitude and affection. 

^ \3 

This was the course of the SECOND SPECIES OF 
IDOLATRY ; as we may collect from ancient history 
both sacred and profane : And, especially, from the 
famous fragment of SANCHONIATHO, which par 
takes so much of both ; where these various motives 
for this species of Idolatry are recounted in express 
words : t( After many generations came Chrysor ; 
" and he INVENTED many things useful to civil 
" life ; for which, after his decease, he was zcor- 
" shipped as a God. Then flourished Ouranos and 
" his sister Ge ; who deified and offered sacrifices 
" to their FATHER Vpxistos, when he had been 
" torn in pieces by wild beasts. Afterwards Cronos 
" consecrated Math his SON, and was himself 
* consecrated by his SUBJECTS f." 

* Wisdom of Solomon, ch. xiv. ver. 15- 
f See-Div. Leg. Vol. II. p. 38- 

T 4 III. But 

III. But Idolatry did not stop here, For when 
men, as the Apostle says, would not retain God in 
their knowledge, He gave them up to their own vain 
imaginations, whereby they changed the truth of 
God into a lieinto an image made like to cor 
ruptible man, and to birds, and to four-footed 
beasts, and to creeping things*. Plow this last 
monstrous change was effected, I have discoursed 
of at large, elsewhere f. It is sufficient to observe 
at present, that it was begun in EGYPT, and was 
propagated from thence: Where the method of 
their Learned, to record the history of their Hero- 
gods, in improved hieroglyphics, gave birth to 
ERUTE-WOKSHIP. For the characters of this kind 
of writing being the figures of animals, which stood 
for marks of their ELEMENTARY GODS, and prin 
cipally of their HEROES, soon made their Hiero 
glyphics, sacred. And this, in no -great space of 
time, introduced a SYMBOLIC worship of their 
Gods, under hieroglyphic Figures. But the People 
(how naturally, we may see by the practice of 
saint-worship in the church of Rome) presently 
forgot the symbol or relation-, and depraved this 
superstition still farther, by a direct worship : till at 
length, the animals themselves, whose figures these 
hieroglyphic marks represented, became the object 
of religious adoration. Which species of Idolatry, 
by the credit and commerce of the EGYPTIANS 

* ROM. ch. i. ver. 23. f Book IV. Sect. 4. 



and their Carriers and Factors the PHOENICIANS, 
in course of time, spread amongst many other 
nations. And this was the THIRD AND LAST SPECIES 
of Pagan Idolatry. 

And here again, as well for the original as the 
order of this Idolatry, we have the confirmation of 
SANCHONIATHO S authority : " Ouranos (says he) 
" was the Inventor of the B&tylia, a kind of 
" ANIMATED STONES framed with great art. And 
" Taautus [the Egyptian] formed ALLEGORIC FI- 


u tial Gods and Elements V 

By these animated stones (as is observed above) 
must needs be meant, stones cut into a human 
figure. For, before this invention, brute, unformed, 
or pyramidal Stones, were consecrated and adored. 
The allegoric Jigures and characters more plainly 
describe Hieroglyphic writing: From whence, as 
we say, this species of Idolatry was first derived. 

This is a plain, consistent account of THE RISE 


as well by the scattered evidence of Antiquity, as 
by the more certain reason of things. I say, the 
" scattered evidence of Antiquity:" For I know 
of no writer who hath given us a direct, or so much 
as consistent, account of this matter. Arid it is no 
wonder. For a system of Religion, of which the 
MORTAL GODS are so considerable a part, would 
appear too hard even for the digestion of the 

* See Div. Leg. Vol. II. p. 38. 



people. An expedient therefore was soon found, 
and by a very natural incident, to throw a veil over 
this shocking absurdity ; and this was by pretending 
one while, to those who grew inquisitive concerning 
the nature of the Hero-Gods, that these Gods were 
only SYMBOLIC of the Celestial: and at another, 
to those who pried too closely into the ELEMEN 
TARY worship) that this was only SYMBOLICAL of 
their Heroes : who were not dead men, as might 
be suspected, but a species of superior Beings, 
which, in affection to mankind, had once been con 
versant on Earth : and whom, now, a deification 
had reinstated in their original Rights. Thus the 
popular belief presented nothing but one uniform 
order of IMMORTALS: The SECRET of the -human 
original of one part of them being reserved for the 
private instruction of the MYSTERIES. 

This cover foi their absurd Idolatries, would 
naturally produce two orthodox Parties of Symbo- 
lizcrs in the Pagan Church. They, who most 
favoured Vl^iiQ-worsttip, would find the Symbol in 
ELEMENTARY: And they, who best liked the 
Elementary, would find the Symbol in the Heroic. 
Both arties, as usual, laid claim to primitive An- 
tiquitv. i or true it is, that the DKGREJ-S and 
MAXNER by which the early Mortals SUPERIX- 
DUCED the worship of dead men on the primary 
idolatrous worship of the heavenly Bodies, gave 
countenance to either side. This was the natural 
incident I spoke of above, as favouring the expedient 


employed to hide the dishonours of Paganism. The 
matter is worth knowing; and I shall endeavour to 
explain it. 

i. The first step to the APOTHEOSIS was the 
complimenting their Heroes and public BENE 
FACTORS, with the Name of that Being, which was 
most esteemed and worshipped. Thus a King, 
for his beneficence, was called the Sun , and a 
Queen, for her beauty, the Moon. Diodorus relates, 


HEAVENS *. This will help us to understand an odd 
passage in the fragment of Sanchoniatho, where it 
is said, " that Cronus had seven sons by Rhca, the 
" youngest of which was made a God, as soon as 
" bonTf." The meanin & I suppose, is, that this 
youngest son was called after some luminary in the 
Heavens, to which they paid divine honours: and 
these honours came, in time, to be transferred to 
the terrestrial namesake. The same Historian had 
before told us, that the sons of Guenos, mortals 
like their father, were called by the names of the 


x . . In the language of Egypt 

called men, as we see m Herod. 1. ii. c. 99- The practice 
t)f Assyrian superstition was the same; their king E 
being named from Baal the Sun. 

t T 

e woJTol^ apst , 


elements, light, fire, mdjlame, whose use they had 
discovered *. 

2. As this adulation advanced into an Established 
worship, they turned the compliment the other way : 
And now the Planet or Luminary was called after 
the Hero ; I suppose, the better to accustom the 
people, even in the act of Planet-worship, to this 
new adoration. Diodorus, in the passage quoted a 
little before, having told us that the Su.v and MOON 
were the first Gods of Egypt, adds, THE FIRST OF 


Isis f. But this was the general practice. So the 
Ammonites called the Sux, Moloch; the Syrians, 
Adad\ the Arabs, Dionysius; the Assyrians, Eelus; 
the Persians, Mithra; the Phoenicians, Saturn; 
the Carthaginians, Hercules ; and the Palmyrians, 
Elegabalux |. Again, the Moox, by the Phrygians 
was called Cybde, cr the mother of the Gods ; 
by the Athenians, Minerca ; by the Cyprians 
Venus; by the Cretans, Diana; by the Sicilians, 
Proserpine; by others Hecate, Bcllonia, Urania, 
Vesta, Lucinia^ &c. Philo Byblius, in Eusebius, 
explains this practice : " It is remarkable (says he) 

f "Efe, $ w \ v , aTTO Fc ysf ytvnfivxi auQif vacata; Swfe, 0*5 elveuy 

aZav. Euseb. Praep. Evang. 1. i. c. 10." 
"Twote&rv wzi MS tiftttg TE xj -sr^T8f, TOV TE 

v TCV piv "0<rip iv , ^ df "laiv cvo^cu. 1. i. 
J See Macrob. Saturn. 1. i. c. 17. & seq. 
See Apul. Met. 

" that 

" that they [the ancient idolaters] imposed on the 
" ELEMENTS, and on those parts of nature which 
" they esteemed Gods, the NAMES OF THEIR 
" KINGS: For the natural Gods, which they 
" acknowledged, were only the Sun, Moon, Planets, 
" Elements, and the like; they being, now, in the 
" humour of having Gods of both classes, the 
" MORTAL and the IMMORTAL*." 

3. As a further proof that JETero-worship was 
thus superinduced upon the planetary, let me add 
a very singular circumstance in the first formation 
of STATUES, consecrated to the Hero-Gods:, of 
which circumstance, both ancient | and modern J 
writers have been at a loss to assign a reason. 
It is, that these first Statues were not of human 
form, but CONICAL and PYRAMIDAL. Thus the 
Scholiast, on the Vespae of Aristophanes, tells us, 
that the Statues of Apollo and Bacchus were come 
pillars, or Obelisks ; and Pausanias, that the Statue 


/ojf, KM Tin TWV Wfuoi**wv SEUV 10.$ Qvopetfflas sTrs 
oe, faov x) erexwv, xj T 

TO, <rwa" " uf 

tiuTois ng Sv/I3aj, TSJ de Mwatxs A sIvM. Praep. Evang. 

Li. 0.9. 

f See Clem. Alex. Strom. 1. i. p. 348. Par. Ed. 

+ See Spencer dc Leg. Heb. Kit. 1. ii. c. 28. sect. 3. 

o* oe af*^o?v. 2^. ver. 87.0. 


of Jupiter Mcilichius represented a Pyramid*: That 
of the Argive Juno did the same, as appears from 
a verse of Phoronis f, quoted by Clemens, intimating, 
that these pyramidal columns were the first Statues 
of the Gods : And this practice was universal, as 
well amongst the early Barbarians as the Greeks, 
Now it is well known that the Ancients represented 
the rays of Light under pillars of this form ; And 
we find, from the fragment of Sanchoniatho, that 
Ousous consecrated two COLUMNS to the Wind 
and Fire: Hence, the erecting them as representa 
tives of their Hero-gods shews how These succeed 
ed to the titles, rights, and honours of the natural 
and celestial Deities. 

To explain this matter at large would require a 
Volume: It is sufficient to have given this hint: 
which, if pursued, might perhaps direct us to the 
right end of the clew of that hitherto inexplicable 
labyrinth of PAGAN MYTHOLOGY. The Reader 
sees clearly, by what has been already said, that 
this unheeded, but very natural way of superinducing 
Hero-worship on the Planetary, easily confounded 
the different species : and afforded a plausible pre 
tence for the two Parties mentioned above, to make 
Either, SYMBOLICAL of the Other. 

Here matters rested : and the vulgar Faith seems 
to have remained a long time undisturbed. But as 

* In Corin. p. 132. 

rj reppae-i xj wavOt<Tt y 
nova (Aoucpw ouawffw* Strom, l.-i. 



the Age grew refined, and the Greeks became in 
quisitive and learned, the common MYTHOLOGY 
began to give offence. The Speculative and more 
Delicate were shocked at the absurd and immoral 
stones of their Gods ; and scandalized, to find such 
things make an authentic part of their story. It may 
indeed be thought matter of wonder how such tales, 
taken up in a barbarous age, came not to sink into 
oblivion as the age grew more knowing; from mere 
abhorrence of their indecencies, and shame of their 
absurdities. Without doubt, this had been their 
fortune, but for an unlucky circumstance : The great 
POETS of Greece, who had most contributed to 
refine the public taste and manners, and were now 
grown into a kind of sacred authority, had sanctified 
these silly Legends by their writings, which Time 
had now consigned to immortality. 

Vulgar Paganism, therefore, in such an Age as 
this, lying open to the attacks of curious and inquisitive 
men, would not, we may well think, be long at rest. 
It is true, FREE-THINKING then lay under great 
difficulties and discouragements. To insult the Re 
ligion of one s Country, which is now the mark of 
learned distinction, was branded, in the ancient 
world, with public infamy. Yet Freethinkers there 
were : Who (as is their wont) together with the 
public worship of their Country, threw off all reve 
rence for Religion in general. Amongst these was 
EUHEMERUS, the Messenian ; and, by what we can 
learn, the most distinguished of this tribe. This 



man, in mere wantonness of heart, began his attacks 
on Religion, by divulging the secret of the Mysteries. 
But as it was capital to do this directly and pro 
fessedly, he contrived to cover his perfidy and malice 
by the intervention of a kind of Utopian Romance. 
He pretended, "that in a certain City, which he 
came to, in his travels, he found this GRAND 
SECRET, that the Gods were dead men deified, pre 
served in their sacred writings ; and confirmed by 
monumental records, inscribed to the Gods them 
selves; who were there said to be interred." So 
far was not arniss. But then, in the genuine spirit 
of his Class, who never cultivate a truth but in order 
to graft a lie upon it, he pretended, " that DEAD 
imaginary Divinity in these early Heroes and Con 
querors created the idea of a superior Power ; and 
introduced the practice of religious worship* amongst 
men." The learned reader sees below, that our 
Freethinker is true to his cause, and endeavours to 
verify the fundamental principle of his Sect, that 
TZARjirst made Gods, even in that very instance 
where the contrary passion seems to have been at its 
height, the time when men made Gods of their. 

Se, o enut^eis *A0^-, pimv or w 
/", ol vtspiyev6(JisvQi ruv aXhuv Iffftvi TE xj oweffei 
WTE infa T<X m ainuv H&&VQ(Jim tsavlatf jSwfv, 0Tre3a0v?f$ 

Tiva xj Sav tiwaiHVt uQw xj rotf aMo;, ivofAifffaiaav Swt. Sext. 
Empir. adv. Mathem. 

1 2 deceased 


deceased BENEFACTORS. A little matter of ad 
dress hides the shame of so perverse a piece of 
malice. He represents those Founders of Society, 
and Fathers of their Country, under the idea of 
destructive Conquerors, who by mere force and fear 
had brought men into subjection and slavery. On 
this account it was that indignant Antiquity con 
curred in giving EUHEMERUS the proper name of 
ATHEIST : which, however, he would hardly have 
escaped, though he had done no more than divulge 
l\\z Secret of the Mysteries; and had not poisoned 
his discovery with this impious and foreign addition, 
so contrary to the true spirit of that Secret. 

This detection had been long dreaded by the 
orthodox Protectors of Pagan Worship : And they 
\vere provided of a temporary defence in their intri 
cate, and properly perplexed, system of SYMBOLIC 
ADORATION. But this would do only to stop a 
breach for the present, till a better could be pro 
vided ; and was too weak to stand alone, against so 
violent an attack. The PHILOSOPHERS, therefore, 
now took up the defence of Paganism, where the 
PRIESTS had left it : And, to the others SYMBOLS, 
added their own ALLEGORIES, for a second cover 
to the absurdities of the ancient Mythology. So, 
MINUCIUS FELIX ZENON, interpretando Junonem 
Aera, Jovem Coelum, Neptunum Mare, Ignem esse 
Vulcanum, et ceteros sirniliter vulgi Deos elementa 
esse monstrando, publicum arguit graviter et revincit 
errorem. Eadem fere CHRYSIPPUS, vim divinam^ 

VOL. IIL U ration 


rationalem naturatn, et inundum interim, et fatalem 
necessitatem Deum credit: ZENONEMque interpre- 
tatione Physiologies in HESIODI, HOMERI, OR- 
iHEique car minibus imitatur. Babylonia etiam 
DIOGENI disci plina est cxponendi et disserendi. 
Jovis partum et ortum Minerva et hoc genus cetera,. 
rerum vocabula esse non Deorum *. For, all the 
genuine Sects of Philosophy, as we have observed, 
were steady patriots; LEGISLATION making one 
essential part of their Philosophy. And. to legislate 
without the foundation of a national Religion, was, 
in their opinion, building castles in the air. So that 
we are not to wonder, they took the alarm ; and op 
posed these Insuiters of the public Worship with all 
their vigour. But, as they never lost sight of their 
proper character, they so contrived, that the defence 
of the national Ptcligion should terminate in a 
recommendation of their philosophic speculations. 
Hence, their support of the public worship , and 
their evasion of Euhemeruss charge, turned upon 
this proposition, " That the whole ancient MYTHO 
LOGY was no other than the vehicle of PHYSICAL, 
MORAL, and DIVINE knowledge." And, to this it 
is that the learned Eusebius refers, where he says, 
" That a new race of men refined their old gross 
" THEOLOGY, and gave it an honester look; and 
ic brought it nearer to the truth of things |-" 

* Octavius, c. xix. 

"\" ToitivTa W T& Trij waXaiaj 0hoyiaff r,v (J,{laahovlt$ vsoi 
rrms, yjils ^ tapunv eTrtyutvlss toyixutt^QV rs Qitoffofuv 

However, tiiis proved a troublesome work ; and, 
after all, ineffectual for the security of men s PRI 
VATE MOJIALS ; which, the example of the licen 
tious story according to the letter, would not fail to 
influence, how well soever the allegoric interpretation 
was calculated to cover the PUBLIC HONOUR of 
Religion : So that the more ethical of the Philo 
sophers grew peevish with what gave them so much 
trouble, and answered so little to the interior of 
religious practice : this made them break out, from 
time to time, into hasty resentments against their 
capital Poets ; unsuitable, one would think, to the 
dignity of the Authors of such noble recondite 
truths, as they would persuade us to believe were 
treasured up in their Writings. Hence it was that 
PLATO banished HOMER from his Republic: and 
that PYTHAGORAS, in one of his extramundane 
adventures, saw both HOMER and HESIOD doing 
penance in Hell, and hung up there, for examples, 
to be bleached and purified from the grossness and 
pollution of their ideas. 

The first of these Atlegorizers, as we learn from 

Laertius *, was Anaxagoras ; who, with his friend 

Metrodorus, turned Homer s Mythology into a 

system of Ethics. Next came Heraclides Ponticus, 


TOV 3i7 (pVfflHttlsfaV T>7 *5TI @WV /Yo/J ?o|V slff^ynffOlvlf, 

tftfofole^ Evgs<notoyia$ TCJJ (toQois ^wtfanwAroiftf. Prsep. 
Evang. 1. ii. c. 6. 

* Lib. ii. Anaxag. vit. 

U 2 

and, of the same fables made as good a system of 
Physics : which, to shew us with what kind of spirit 
it was composed, he intitled Avn/> pV<f run *a,r auYS 
[ O/Affoa] j3Aa<rpi)p)<ra>Icdv. And last of all, when the 
necessity became more pressing, Proclus undertook 
to shew that all Homer s Fables were no other than 
physical^ ethical, and moral ALLEGORIES. For we 
are to observe, that the Philosophers INVENTED and 
REVIVED this way of interpretation, as at two 
different times, so on two different occasions, 

1. It was invented to encounter such men as 
EUHEMERUS, who attempted to overthrow all Re 
ligion, by this pretended fact. That the FIRST Wor 
ship was paid to dead men deified , which they sup 
ported on a real one, namely, that the greater Gods 
of ^Greece were only deified Mortals ; as appeared 
from HOMER and the other early Greek Poets : 
whose writings being become a kind of SCRIPTURE 
in the popular Religion, the Defenders of the com- 
mon faith had it not in their power to REPUDIATE 
their fables as only the idle visions of a poetic fancy : 
Nothing. was left but to SPIRITUALIZE the sense, 


by allegorical interpretations. And this proved so 
lucky an expedient, th?.t at the same time that it- 
covered their fables from the attacks of their adver 
saries, it added new reverence and veneration both 
to them and their Authors. So TERTULLIAN. Ipsa 
quoque vulgaris supcrstitio communis Idololatriae, 
cum in simulacris de nominibus ct fabulis vcterum 
1 2 mortuoruw 


mortuorum pudet, ad interpretationern naturdium 
refugit, et dcdccus mum ingenlo obumbrat, ligurans 
Jo^em in substantiam fervidam, et Junonem ejus 
in aeream * ? &c. 

2. What These began for the sake of their THEO- 
LOGERS, tlieir successors continued for the sake 
of their THEOLOGY. For it is to be noted, that the 
first CHRISTIAN APOLOGISTS took up so much of 
the argument of EUHEMERUS and his Fellows, as 
concerned the real nature and original of the greater 
Co<ls of Greece. And as they had disencumbered 
this truth, of the false consequence with which 
those audacious Freethinkers had loaded it, they 
were enabled to urge it with superior force. But 
if the CHRISTIANS added new vigour to this attack, 
the PHILOSOPHERS became still more animated in 
their defence : for they hated this new Sect as an 
enemy equally to the PHILOSOPHY and to the 
RELIGION of Greece. And their accidental ad 
vantages in the application of this revived method 
of allegory r , were not inferior to their most studied 
arts of improving it: For their Christian Adver 
saries could with no grace object to a way of inter 
pretation which they themselves had just oorrowed 
from Paganism, to SPIRITUALIZE, forsooth, their 
sacred Scriptures, which the Philosophers had long 
used with more sense and better judgment, to make 


* Adv. Marc. 1. i. 

u But 


But here we are to take notice of this difference 
between these Allegorizers BEFORE, and the Alle- 
gorizers AFTER the time of Christ. The first were- 
principally employed in giving a physical * or moral 
interpretation of the Fables; the latter, a THEO 
LOGICAL. As we may see in the case of Plutarch; 
who was both Priest and Philosopher in one. His 
famous tract, OF Is is AND OSIRIS, is directly written 
to support the national Religion, which. had just 
taken the alarm ; and not without reason. His 
purpose, in it, is to shew, That all its MULTIFORM 
worship was only an address to the SUPREME, 
BEING, under various names and covers. But then 
ancient history, which acquaints us with the origin, 
of their Gods, stood in his way. He denies, there 
fore, what these histories invariably attest. He calls 
Euhemerus, who inforced their evidence, an Im 
postor I : And hath many other evasions to elude 
such circumstances as are most decisive. Thus, 
when he cannot deny, that, what is recorded of 

* So A RN OBI us. Vulnerari, vexari, bella inter se 
gerere furialium memorantur ardore discriminum : Vobis 
ilia cst dcscriptio voluptati, atque ut scriptorum tantam 
defendalis audaciam, ALLEGORIAS res illas, et NATU-J 
KALIS SCIENTI^: mentimitii esse doctrinas. Adv. Gent. 
1. iv. p. 150. Ed. quarto. 

t *O$ auros [Ew^Ef^-] av 
awTTafjflx (Mootoyiasy vatrav adeo-njla 
raj vo(ugoiMV8$ Sfa; wy7j o/4a*u$ dtaygdpui, sis WO/MX. 
xj Na^xwv ^ Baj-iAsajy, wy 3j TsraAou ythwruv. p. 641 . 



their Gods shews them to be subject to human 
passions, he will not yet allow the inference for their 
humanity; because the Genii and Demons are 
agitated by the like passions*. Thus again, the 
bewailing and lamenting gestures, in many of their 
established Rites, which looked so like mourning for 
the dead, signified, he assures us, no more than an 
allegorical representation of corn sown and buried^. 
In this manner, the postulate having supported the 
allegories; the allegories come, in good time, to the 
assistance of the postulate. 

Thus stood the matter in the ancient World. Let 
us see now what use the Moderns have made of what 
they found recorded there. Our Freethinkers, such 
as Toland and his school, have revived the old rank 
doctrine of Euhemerus. That PANTHEISTIC Phi 
losopher s understanding had so strong a bias to im 
piety, that it seemed rather a natural sympathy, than 
any thing acquired, which drew him to it at all 

* BsXJwv ay, ol rat tssfi toy TvpSv* *, "Ocn^v xj *l<rtv i 




aiffQ ctru ev ffuvutoiws $ovw osx&p svw xj WWW 

yivovbu tfy f 
x, **/?. p. 642. 
f See note [OO] at the end of this Book. 

v 4 distances* 

distances. Hear how awkwardly he represent* 
EuhemeruS* system to us : and yet he labours hard 
to set ,t off. The FIRST Idolatry ( says he) did not 
proceed, as ,s commonly supposed, from the beauty 
or order, or influence of the STARS. Bat men ob- 
sermng Booh to perish [before there were any] by 
fre worms, or rottenness andiron, Brass, and 
wble, not less subject to violent hands or the in- 
nes of the weather, they IMPOSED ON THE STARS. 
as the only everlasting monuments, the proper names 
of their HEROES, or of something memorable in 
their History*. All this, his Predecessors, the 
Freethinkers of Antiquity, (who knew how to ex- 
press themselves) informed us of nhen they said, 
Star-worship was only symbolical of Hero- 
worship- and, consequently, of later date: the 
hmg they aimed at, to induce their conclusion, that 
therefore Religion was apolitical invention. Toland 
treads in their footsteps, though he treads awry. But 
our Religionists in general, have not been so nappy 
m the choice of their arms, nor in their sagacity of 
know ing their friends from their enemies. The ex 
cellent G.J. Vossius (to mention him amongst a 
multitude) hath, in his very learned collection of 
Gentile Theology, gone, bonafide, into the old pagan 
method of allegorizing their Theology ; as if it were 
service to true Religion to shew, that the 
Idolatry was, at bottom, tolerably reasonable. 

* Of the origin of Idolatry an d reasons of Heathen. 
ism, p. 74. 


It is true, a late ingenious Person seems to have 
understood his subject better, and to know to what 
it all tends ; I mean the learned Writer of the 
Letters concerning Mythology. We have observed, 
that the ancient defenders of Paganism had by their 
Symbols and Allegories resolved the Hero-gods into 
the Elementary ; and these again, into the various 
attributes of the Jirst Cause. In which they were 
so successful, that they not only changed their 
Idolatry, but their Idols likewise. For the SIGXA 
PANTHEIA expressive of this new Theology have 
all the marks of the later times of pagan Antiquity. 
The ancient FATHERS of the Church are very 
copious in exposing this subterfuge. In which ser 
vice they employed all that was found in the system 
of Euhemems ; that is to say, That the Greater 
Gods of Greece and Rome, the Dil majorum Gen 
tium, were Dead men deijted. And I have endea 
voured throughout this work to support their Cause. 
There are hardly now, I believe, two opinions on 
this matter, amongst knowing men. But the Author 
of the Inquiry into the life and writings of Homer 
attempts, in these Letters, to bring us back again 
to the old MUMSIMUS. He saw, I suppose, the 
necessary connexion between Allegories arid ideal 
Gods: a principle which could produce nothing 
more than a SHADOWY IDOLATRY at worst. And 
therefore, in honour of Pagan Antiquity hath laid 
it down as an axiom, That the powers producing, 
and parts composing the Universe, were their 


GREATER GODS* ; or the Du majorum Gentium. 
This He calls, the grand Key of Mythology. And 
here it is worth while to observe, (hut by the way 
only) that these admirers of the wisdom of pro- 
Jane Antiquity, are not so favourable to that of 
sacred: but are generally amongst the first to laugh 
at what Divines call the DOUBLE SENSE in Scrip 
ture prophecies. And yet they make the greatest 
part of pagan wisdom to consist in the use and in 
vention of DOUBLE SENSES : " Witness (says this 
writer to his friend) the DOUBLE view you have 
6 already had of the rise of tilings, and govern- 
4 ment of the world from Orpheus, in the descrip- 
fc tion of Pan: and from Hemdin his borrowed 
Theogony : and still plainer in the DOUBLE moral 
of Prometheus, as signifying either the divine 
; Providence in the formation of the world, and 
* particularly of man, or human foresight per- 
fr petuaMy on the rack, for the necessaries and 
conveniencies of Kief." The difference is, the 
Pagan double seme connects together two things 
that are foreign to one another in the constitution 
of Nature : The Scripture double seme connects 
together two things that are as nearly related, as 
the various parts of one moral Dispensation. But 
to return : 

As these LETTERS seem to be written as much 
in opposition to what is here, and elsewhere through- 

P. 409, of the Letters concerning Mythology. 
t Pp. 120, 121. 



out this work, advanced, concerning the rise, pro 
gress, and various fortunes, of ancient Idolatry, as 
in favour of the now exploded MYTHOLOGY ; 
which was, as we say, invented, and, from time to 
time, improved by the early, middle, and later 
Philosophers, to hide the deformities of vulgar 
Polytheism ; I think proper to consider what he 
hath to say in support of such an undertaking. 

Now against my various reasoning in confutation 
of this pagan System, I find not so much as one 
argument opposed ; and in support of the System 
itself, but one ; and this one, borrowed from Cud- 
worth*. It is put thus : " Euhemcrus and his 
"- FOLLOWERS, ere we join with them in mor- 
" tallzing the first Divinities, must satisfy us, Why 
" the Poetical Sages, the Instructors of mankind, 
" termed their grand Work, the basis of their doc- 
" trine, not only a THEOGONY, or an account of 
< the birth and pedigree of the Gods, but a Cos- 
* MOGONY, or an account of the birth and creation 
" of the World? Or, plainer still, a COSMOPOEIA, 
" a making or framing of the Universe? The PLA- 
" TONIC Philosophy had no hand in the Cosmo - 
" gonies, or histories of the Creadon written by 
" Taaut or Thoth, by Linus^ by Orpheus, &c. It 
" was plain, therefore, the Allegory did not come 
" too late-\j* &c. These last are my words. 

* See Intellectual System. Contents annexed to First 
Edition, p. 234. 
f Pp. 211, 212, 


If Euhemerus supposed, as it appears he did, 
that the FIRST pagan Divinities were mortal Men, 
he would have found it difficult to answer this ob 
jection of Cudworth. But the FOLLOWER of Eu 
hemerus (for with this title he honours the Author 
of the Divine Legation) who supposes no such 
thing, but hath evinced the contrary, will find no 
difficulty at all. For he holds*, that the first 
Gods of Greece were the heavenly Bodies. And 
if the Makers of these Cosmogonies, such as Thoth, 
Linus, and Orpheus, held the same, then their 
THEOGONIES, or accounts of the birth and pedigrees 
oftheseGods, could be no other than COSMOGONIES, 
or accounts of the birth and creation of the world; 
these Gods being parts of it. 

But things seem here to be confounded by our 
Letter- Writer. These Cosmogonies have just as 
much, and no more, to do with Platonic allegories, 
than the elements of Speech with the ornaments of 

There are two errors likewise, in this matter^ 
which our Letter- Writer seems to have laboured 
under. The one is, that Euhemerus was the In 
ventor of the mortalizing system : Whereas, I had 
shewn, it was taught in all the Mysteries long before 
Euhemerus had any being. He, indeed, maliciously 
carried it much farther than the Mysteries intended : 
He made planetary worship symbolical of the He 
roic: and, from thence, inferred the political origin 
* See above. 


of Religion : for which, he passed with Antiquity, 
and perhaps justly, for an Atheist. Whereas the 
Mysteries, as we see from the fragment of San- 
choniatho*, kept these two species of Idolatry 
distinct ; and assigned the proper order of time to 
each of them. 

The other error this lively Writer falls into, is in. 
supposing, that this Follower of Euhemerus, against 
whom he writes, holds all the first, as well as last, 
Gods of Greece to have been mortal men : Whereas 
he distinguishes hetween the Gods of civilized and 
uncivilized Greece : The first, he supposes to have 
been heavenly bodies ; and the latter only, dead men 

From censuring the Learning of Euhemerus s 
Followers, the Letter-Writer proceeds to censure 
their Morals. " It is not easy (he says) to ascertain 
" what should make some warm Ecclesiastics, for 
" the wiser are far above such weakness, so angry 
" at the Allegories of ancient Poets, now, when 
" all danger from their Deities is over. Of old, 


" indeed, when Temples and Revenues belonged 
" to them; when wealth, and Dignities of the 
" Church, were annexed to the allegorical Devo- 
" tion, and vested in its Teachers, no wonder the 
" good FATHERS should fulminate against the wild 
" and impious Worship. But now, when the struggle 
" is long since over, when the Father qf Gods and 

# See above, and likewise p. 37 of Vol. II. 

" inen 


" men has not so much as a lamb offered, nor his 

" Daughter [i. e. Minerva or WISDOM] a single 

" grain of incense burnt upon her altar for near a 

" thousand years, it is hard to tell what should 

" awake this preposterous zeal, or make them so 

" eager to mortalize the EMBLEMS of Antiquity. 

" Is there not, as I was hinting, some infection in 

" the case? Has not the reading the FLAMING 

" INVECTIVES of the primitive Fathers, who were 

" actually in the struggle, a little infected their 

" Followers with the same fiery spirit and IN- 


As to \hettflaming Invectives, the Letter-Writer 

seems to lie under a small mistake. For though 
such invectives may perhaps be thought characteristic 
of the FATHERS zeal, the terms are not here in 
their place. They reserved their invectives for a 
better occasion, to fulminate the malice of their 
Enemies, and the follies of their Friends. On this 
point, viz. the mortalhing the emblems of antiquity, 
I can assure him, they appeared much at their 
ease ; and more disposed to quibble than to rail ; 
as he might have seen by one of the most serious 
of them, and who least understood raillery when 
he was pressed, I mean St. Austin ; who, in his 
confutation of Varro and his emblems, could afford 
to be thus jocular : " Sed, ha3C omnia inquit 
" [Varro] referuntur ad mundum ; videatne potius 
" ad immundum^" 

* Pp. 226, 227. f Civ. Dei, I. vii. c. 27. 



As to the indecent language , it is to be found in 
the fourth volume of the Divine. Legation ; where it 
is said, that the Ancients adopted into the number of 
their greater Gods, Rcccishers, Adulterers, Palhics, 
Vagabonds, Thieves, and Murderers *. But it is 
pleasant to hear this Letter- Writer talk of decency 
to a set of PHANTOMS, EMBLEMS, and SYMBOLS; 
for such he esteems these Greater Gods to be ; 
and yet observe it so little to the MINISTERS of 
the Christian Religion. For he is at a loss, the 
Reader sees, to account for their warmth, where 
their private Interest is not concerned. And in seek 
ing for the cause of it, when he cannot fix it on 
their avarice and ambition, rather than allow them 
a motive becoming their character and office, he 
will throw it upon their passions and prejudices. 
He supposes, they catchtd the infection from the 
Fathers, whose worldly interests, he imagines, were 
much concerned in the quarrel. But if he deserves 
the opinion I have of his candour, he will be 
pleased to find -his suspicions ill grounded : And 
that the ECCLESIASTICS, who engage so warmly IB 
this question, do it on important reasons, becoming 
their character of Ministers of the Truth. 

The Bible represents ancient Idolatry, in the 
most odious colours ; and the whole Gentile World 
as oiven up to its delusions. A species of modern 
Mythologists, hinted at above, had, on the revival 
of learning in the West, endeavoured, to evade this 

* Book iv. Sect 4. 


charge, by borrowing the defences of the ancient 
Philosophers ; who allegorized the fables of the 
popular Religion, to screen it from the contempt 
of the more knowing Vulgar ; as Learning, at one 
time, and Christianity, at another, had severally 
shaken the Seat of Superstition*. In those Alle 
gories, all the national Gods were reduced to mere 
SYMBOLS, expressive of the Attributes of the first 
Cause: and, consequently, the Scripture-charge 
against the Gentiles, of worshipping the Creature 
for the Creator, rendered groundless, or at least, 
uncandid. These modern Mythologists, a late 
French Writer hath well described in the following 
words, " AM commencement du Seizi&mc Siecle 
quelquesuns dcs Savans, qui contribudrent an re- 
tablissement dcs lettres, etoient, dit-on, Pai ens dans 
le coeur, plus encore par PEDANTERIE, que par 
libertinage : ensorte qu il n eut pas tenu a eux de 
rainencr le culte dcs Dieux d HoMERE et de Vir- 
gile - -ils einploioient ce qu ils avoient de literature 
et d esprit, pour domier au Paganisnie un tour 
plausible, et en former un systeme moins insense . 
Jlsavouoientquela MYTHOLOGIE &oit insoutenable 
prise a la lettre : mais, en meme terns, elle con- 
tenoit, scion eux, sous I EMBLEME des fictions les 
profondeurs de la PHYSIQUE, de la MORALE, et 
de la Ti-iEOLOGiEf." In this state and representa 
tion of things, some Ecclesiastics have thought it 

* See p, 292. f Vie de L Emp. Julien. p. 48, 49. 



of their office to MORTALIZE these pretended em 
blems of Antiquity ; and to shew, that the greater 
national Gods were dead men deified: and, conse 
quently, that their worshippers were REAL IDOLA 
TERS ; and of the worst sort too, as they frequently 
had for their objects the worst kind of men. 

But so little of this matter entered into the Letter- 
Writer s views, that he says, " This, which was 
" formerly a grand religious controversy, is now 
" turned to a point; of pure speculation. What, 
" in the days of Polytheism, raised the indignation 
" of the Priests, and inflamed the rival zeal of the 
" Fathers of the Church, now raises a little squabble 
" amongst the Antiquaries, as a question of mere 
" curiosity : to wit, whether all the Gods of Anti- 
< quity were not mortal men *." 

Now, if the Letter- Writer will needs suppose, 
that where the CLERGY have no oblique and inte 
rested designs, they have no reasonable ones, he will 
be often out in his reckoning: And (what to be sure 
is greatly to be lamented) unequal to the oilice of 
a Censor on their Manners, 

After all, perhaps, I may understand Him as 
little, as he appears to have understood Me, if I 
think him in earnest. The whole of his Letters, 
if one may judge by hints dropt here and there, 
seems to be only the wanton exercise of a Sophist; 
and just such an tncomiuni on the WISDOM OF THE 
ANCIENTS, as Erasmus s was on the TOLLY OF THE 

* P. 208, 

MODERNS. l is certain , at least, that in the prose^ 
cation of his argument, his chief concern is for 
FICTION AND ITS INTEREST*. Thus, in one page, 
he tells u&, " That this eager zeal to MORTALIZK 
these emblems of Antiquity is DESTRUCTIVE OP 
ALL TRUE POETRY *." And in another, " That 
this- prevailing PROSAIC TASTE has neii-her dvgmty 
of manners, nor strength of genius^ nor extent of 
fancy f." But he explains himself more fully, where 
speaking of SYMBOLS- and ALLEGORIES, and the 
inseparable- as well as accidental marks by which 
they may be unravelled; he illustrates his subject by 
Abb6 Pluche s Hypothesis : Which, however, in 
several places, he treats for what it is, an idle and 
a groundless fancy. " Symbols (says he) carry 
" natural marks that strike a sagacious mind, and 
" lead it, by degrees, to their real meaning. A hint 
" in one author brightens the obscurities in many 
" others ; as one single observation of Macrobiua 
"proved the clew to Abbe Pluche s (how ju-stiy 
" I say not) to unravel the whole mystery of Egyp* 
" tian, Assyrian, and Grecian Gods." He had no 
occasion to consider how justly, if he were in jest 
Otherwise, a man might have seen, that the just 
ness of unravelling depended on the reality of the, 
Clew : Which, too, though dignified by the name of 
Clew, is indeed no other than a number of odd ends^ 
that wanted to be made consistent, rather than to be 

* P. 215. f P. 214. 

Sect 6.] OF JioSfig DEMONSTRATED. 307 
unravelled. For the rest, as our learned Critic would 
iriimortdlize the Pagan Deities in reverence to the 
CLASSICS, so this Abbe Pluche (of whom he speaks 
with so much honour) has attempted to draw them 
but of their mortal state, in order to cover the dis 
graces of POPERY ; to which that superstition is 
obnoxious, from the protestant parallels between 
Saint and Hero-worship. 

But as if all this had not been enough to shew us 
that his concern was not for TRUTH but FICTION, 
he gravely professes to credit all BACON S visions, 
as the genuine Wisdom of the Ancients, which 
every body else admires as the sportive effort of 
modern wit. As he is in so pleasant an humour, 
he may not be displeased to hear the Determina 
tion of DOCTOR RAPELAIS upon this question, 
who thus addresses the Allegorizers of his time : 
" Croyez-vous, en vostre foy, qu oncques HOMERE, 
e escripvant Plliade & 1 Odyssee, pensast 6s ALLE- 
" GORIES lesquelles de luy out calefrete Plutarche, 
" Heraclide de Ponticq, Eustatie, Phornute, et CQ 
u que d iceulx POLITIAX ha descrobe ? Si le, 
" croyez, vous n approchez ne de piedz, ne de mains 
4i & mon opinion : qui DECRETE icelles aussi peu 
" avoir este songees de Homere, que d Ovide en 
" ses Metamorphoses, les Sacremens de 1 Evangile, 
6C lesquelz ung Frere Litbin, vray croquelardon, 
u s est efforce demons trer si d adventure il reilcon- 
K troit gens aussi folz que luy." This facetious 
Satirist had here in his eye those very Mythologists 

X 2 Qf 


of the sixteenth Century, whom the learned Author 
of the Life of Julian, quoted above, so very 
justly censures. 

And thus much for this GRAND KEY OF MYTHO 
LOGY, as this Letter- Writer is pleased to call his 
Fancies *. 

To return to the Patrons of the other extreme, 
That the heavenly bodies were only SYMBOLS of the 
Hero-Gods. Having thus shewn, the worship of 
the elements to be prior to that of dead men, I have 
not only overthrown this argument, for the proof 
of the atheistic notion of the origin of Religion t 
but likewise the notion itself. For if (as our adver 
saries own) the worship of dead men were the 
first religious institution after entering into civil 
society; and if (as I have proved) the worship of 
the heavenly bodies preceded that of dead men ; 
the consequence is, that Religion was in use before 
the Civil Magistrate was in Being. But I need riot 
our Adversaries concession for this consequence ; 
having proved from ancient testimony, \hztplane- 
^tary worship was the only Idolatry long before Civil 
Society was known ; and continued to be so, by all 
unpolicied nations, long after. 

II. I come, in the next place, to direct Fact : 
from whence it appears, that the Lawgiver, or Civil 
Magistrate, did not invent Religion. 

* P. 400. 


Here the Atheist s gross prevarication ought not 
to pass uncensured. From the notoriety of the 
Magistrate s care of Religion, he would conclude it 
to be his INVENTION: And yet, that very Anti 
quity, which tells him this, as plainly and fully tells 
him this other , namely, that Religion was not in 
vented by him : For, look through all Greek, 
Roman, and Barbaric Antiquity ; or look back on 
what we have extracted from thenee in the second 
section of the foregoing book, and it will appear, 
that not one single Lawgiver ever found a People, 
how wild or unimproved soever, without, a Religion, 
when he undertook to civilize them. On the con 
trary, we see them all, even to the Lawgivers of the 
Thracians and Americans, addressing themselves to 
the savage Tribes, with the credentials of that God 
who was there professedly acknowledged and adored. 
But this truth will be farther seen from hence: It 
appears by the history of the Lawgivers ; by the 
sayings recorded of them ; and by the fragments 
of their writings yet remaining, that they perceived 
the error and mischief of the gross idolatries prac 
tised by those People, whom they reduced into 
Society; and yet, that they never set upon reforming 
them. From whence we reasonably conclude, that 
they found the People in possession of a Religion 
which they could not unsettle ; and so were forced 
to comply with inveterate prejudices. For, that they 
were willing and desirous to have reformed what 
they found, appears not only from the PROEMS to 
x 3 their 

their Laws, mentioned above, but from the testimony 
of one of the most knowing Writers of Antiquity, 
I mean Plutarch ; who, in his Tract of Superstition, 
speaking of the unruly temper of the People, says 
they ran headlong into all the follies which the 
makers of Graven images propagated ; and in the 
mean time, turned a deaf ear to their Lawgivers, 
who endeavoured to inform them better*. This 
forced even Solon himself to establish the Temple- 
worship of Venus the Prostitute f. But the reform 
\vas seen to be so impossible, that Plato lays it down 
as an axiom in his Republic, That nothing ought to 
he changed in the received Religion which the Law 
giver finds already established; and that a man 
must have lost his understanding to think of such 
a project. All they could do, therefore, when they 
could not purify the SOUL of Religion, was more 
firmly to constitute the BODY of it, for the service 
of the state. And this they did by NATIONAL RITES 
AND CEREMONIES. Nay; when the visible folly 
of a superstitious Rite, would have enabled them to 
abolish it, they sometimes for the sake of turning it 
to the civil service chose to give it the public sanc 
tion. This, Cicero confesses where he sayg 
Equidem adsentior C. Marcello existimoque jus 
augurum, etsi Divinationis opinione principio con- 

nOAITIKHN avtyuv 

/UET xfwo ni?- xj 

f vw&jupe A&pttiiwft* Athenad Deip. 1. xiii. 



Mkutuin sit, -tatnen ;postea B/EtPUBtica; CAUSA 
-conservatum &c retentum *. 

Indeed, an course of time, though insensibly, the 
genius of the JMigion, as we observed before t, 
followed -that -of tlie civil Policy; and so grew 
better and purer, as it did in ROME ; or more cor 
rupt and abominable, as it did in SYRIA. But had 
the Legislators given -an entire NEW R-EIIGION, in 
the manner they gave LAWS, we should have found 
wme of those, at least, nearly approaching to the 
purity -of natural Religion. Bat as we see no such, 
we must conclude they FOUND Religion, and did 

not MAKE it. 

On the whole then, I have proved, what the most 
judicious HOOKE-R was not ashamed to profess before 
me, That " a POLITIQUE USE of Religion there Is. 
Men fearing GOD are thereby a great deal more 
effectually than by positive Laws restrayned, from 
" doing evil; inasmuch as those Laws have no 

O 1 

<f further power than over our outward actions o iiy ; 
" whereas unto men s inward cogitations, unto the 
" privie intents and motions of their hearts, Religion 
serveth for a bridle. What more savage, wilde, 
and cruell than man, if he see himscltc able, either 
by fraude to over-reach, or by power to over-bcare, 
the Laws ^hereunto he should be subject ? 
^Wherefore in so great boldness to offend, it 

* DeDivin, L ii. c. 35, 
f SeeVohL 

" belioveth 

bchoveth that the World should be held in awe, 
HENSION of somewhat, which no man may think 
himselfe able to withstand. THIS is THE POLI- 
TIQUE USE OF RELiGiOK *." Thus far this 
great man; where he takes notice how certain 
Atheists of his time, by observing this use of Reli 
gion to Society, were fortified in their folly of 
believing that Religion was invented by Politicians 
to keep the World in awe. An absurdity, I per 
suade myself, now so thoroughly exposed, as to be 
henceforth deemed fit only, to go in rank with the 
tales of Nurses, and the dreams of Freethinkers. 

I HAVE now at length gone through the two first 

Propositions : 







The -next Book begins with the proof of the 
third; namely, 

* Eccl. Pol. Book V. sect. ii. 

3- THAT 




Hitherto we have been forced to move slowly, to 
feel for our way in the dark, through the thick con 
fusion of many irrational RELIGIONS, and mad 
schemes of PHILOSOPHY, independent of, and in 
consistent with, one another : Where the labour of 
the search, perhaps, has been much greater to the 
Author, tnan the pleasure will be to the Reader, in 
finding this CHAOS reduced to some kind of order; 
the PRINCIPLES developed, from whence the endless 
diversity and contradiction have arisen; and the 
various USE that may be made of these Discoveries 
for our demonstration of the truth of revealed 

We now emerge into open day : 

" Major rerum mihi nascitur ordo, 
" Majus opus moveo." 

And having gotten the PROMISED LAND in view, 
the labour will be much easier, as the Discoveries 
will be more important, and the subject infinitely 
more interesting : For having now only one single 
System and Dispensation to explain, consistent in 
all its parts, and absolute and perfect in the Whole, 
which though, by reason of the pro;\,nd and sub 
lime views of its Author, these perfections may not 


be very obvious, yet, if we .have but the happiness 
-to enter rightly, we shall go on with ease, and the 
prospect will gradually open and enlarge itself, till 
we see it lost again in that IMMENSITY from whence 
it first arose. 

Full of these hopes, and under the auspices of 
these encouragements, let us now shift -the Scene 
from GENTILE to JEWISH Antiquity; and prepare 
ourselves for the opening of a more august ai}4 
Solemn Theatre, 





That the OMISSION of a future State in the Mosaic 
Dispensation, doth not make it unworthy of the 
Original to which Believers ascribe it. 

A S both Believers and Unbelievers have, by some 
*-** blind chance or other, concurred to make this 
Objection to the OMISSION ; I think it not improper, 
before I enter upon the Subject of the MOSAIC 
LAW, which comes next into consideration, to 
remove this common prejudice concerning it. And 
as a celebrated Writer has collected together what 
hath been said in support of the Objection, and 
civen to it all the strength that the force of his own 

& o 

genius could impart, I suppose his words will be the 
best text to my discourse. 

" L Eveque Warburton, auteur d un des plus 
savants ouvrages qu on ait jamais fait, s exprime 
ainsi, page 8. tome I. " Une Religion, une Societe 
" qui n est pas fondee sur la creance d une autre 
" vie, doit etre soutenue par une Providence extra- 
" ordinaire. Le Judaisme n est pas fonde sur T la* 
" creance d une autre vie; done, la Judaisme a -<te 

" soutenu 


6 soutenu par une providence extraordinaire." Plu* 

sieurs Theologiens se sont eleves contre lui, et 

comme on retorque tous les arguments, on a retorque 

le sien, on lui a dit : " Toute Religion, qui n est 

* pas fondee sur le dogme de I lmmortalite de Tame, 

sur les peines et les recompenses eternelles, 

i est necessairement fausse ; Or le Judaisme ne 

" connut point ces dogmes, done le Judai sme, loin 

d etre soutenu par la Providence, etait par vos 

* c principes une Religion fausse barbare qui 

* attaquait la Providence." Get Eveque eut quel- 

ques autres adversaires qui lui soutinrent que 

Fimmortalite de Tame etait connue chez les Juifs, 

dans le temps meme de Moi se ; mais il leur prouva 

tres-evidemment que ni le Decalogue, ni le Levitique, 

ni le Deuteronome, n avaient dit un seul mot de cette 

creance, & qu il est ridicule de vouloir tordre & cor- 

rompre quelques passages des autres livres, pour en 

tirer une verit^ qui n est point annoncee dans le livre 

de la Loi. 

Mr. 1 Eveque ayant fait quatre Volumes pour 

demontrer que la Loi Judaique ne proposait ni 

peines rii recompenses aprs la mort, n a jamais pu 

r^pondre a ses adversaires d\me maniere bien 

satisfaisante. Us lui disaient : " Ou Moi se con- 

4 naissait ce Dogme, et alors il a troinpe les Juifs 

en ne le inanifestant pas ; ou il 1 ignorait ; & en 

ce cas il n en savait pas assez pour fonder une 

4 bonne Religion. En effct si la Religion avait 

ete bonne, pourquoi J aurait-on abolie ? Un 

" Religioi 


" Religion vraie doit etre pour tous les temps & 
" pour tous les lieux, elle doit etre comme la 
" lumiere du Soleil, qui eclaire tous les Peuples 
" toutes les Generations." 

" Ce Prelate tout eclaire qu il est, a eu beau- 
" coup de peine a se tirer de toutes ces difficultes ; 
" mais quel Systeme en est exempt * ? " 

The trouble I have had in disengaging myself 
from these difficulties will now be seen. 

The Objections, as here stated by this ingenious 
man, respect, we see, both the LEGISLATOR and 
the LAW. 

i . Either Moses (says he) was acquainted with & 
future State, and in that case he deceived the Jews 
in not teaching it : or he was ignorant of the doc 
trine, and in this case he did not know enough to. 
become the Author of a good Religion. Indeed, if 
the religion had been good. Why was it abolished? 
a true Religion should be for all times and places. 
Its light should be like that of the Sun, which illu 
mines all nations and all generations. 

2. All Religion which is not founded on the doc 
trine of the Soul s immortality and future rewards 
and punishments, is necessarily false : but, in Ju 
daism, these doctrines were not contained: there 
fore Judaism, so far from being supported by an 

* Diet. Philosopliique Portatifj article (Religion ? 
premiere question). 


3i 8 THE DIVINE LEG AtlON [Book III.* 
extraordinary Providence, teas, on your tiwn Prin 
ciples (says he to the Bishop) a religion false and 
barbarous, which attacked and insulted Providence. 

1. The first argument, against the integrity of 
Moses s conduct from this Omission, had been urged 
at large by the late Lord BOLINGBROKE ; and 
the Reader may find it at large confuted, in the 
Appendix to the Fifth Book of the Divine Legation. 

2. The second argument, against the integrity of 
the Law from this Omission, has been clamoured by 
a krge Body of Answerers, led up by Dr. STEB- 
BING. But these men pretending to believe Reve 
lation, their reason, for want of integrity in such a 
Religion, was founded in a supposed defect in its 
Essence; so their conclusion from this reasoning 
was, " That a future State was certainly in the 
Mosaic Religion, how much soever it might walk 
there in Masquerade." The celebrated Frenchman, 
who pretends to no such belief, founds his argument 
on the reality of the Omission, and from thence con 
cludes, "that the Mosaic Law was an imposture." 

I shall examine what they have to say, in their order, 


Thd English Doctor comes first. " You con- 
" sider (says this candid Divine, addressing himself 
<{ to the Author of the D. L.) the Ignorance of the 
" Jews as to the doctrine of a future State, as one 
" of the most momentous truths that Religion has to 
" boast of. I, on the other hand, look upon it as 


" a DISGRACE to Revelation; as by the very act 
Cfc of God himself, it shuts out his own chosen 
" People, for many ages, from that single point of 
" Knowledge, which could be the foundation of a 
" reasonable Worship ; while, by the directions 
" of his Providence, all the world besides were 
" permitted to have the benefit of it *." 

Here we see the Doctor proposes to confute my 
representation of the omission of a future State in 
the Mosaic Religion : But, for mine, he gives us his 
own, and very notably confutes that. My idea of 
the omission I declared to be this, that, as the Jews,, 
to whom the Mosaic Religion was given, were, at 
the time of giving, under an extraordinary Provi 
dence, they had no absolute need of the doctrine. 
The Doctor s idea of the omission is, that when the 
Mosaic Religion was given to the Jews, they were 
under an ordinary Providence, and therefore the 
doctrine was necessary. That I do him no wrong- 
in charging him with this sophistical chicanery, ap 
pears from his own words, where he gives his reason 
for saying that my (meaning his own) representation 
of the omission is a disgrace to Revelation ; namely, 
because this single point of Knowledge [i.e. a 
future state] is the only FOUNDATION of a reason*, 
-able Worship. Now, it is obvious to common sense, 
that this can be only predicated of a future state 

* An- Examination- of Mr. Warburton s Second Pro 
position, &c. in -an. Epistolary Dissertation addressed to 

the Author; pp. 131, 2- 


under an ordinary Providence : And that under an 
extraordinary it is no necessary FOUNDATION at all 

If it should be pretended (for it will hardly be 
owned that the Doctor, with all his zeal, was an 
Unbeliever) that by the many ages in which the 
people of God were shut up (as he expresses it) 
from this knowledge, he meant, those ages in which 
the Jews lived under a common providence, this 
subterfuge will not serve his turn, for I have shewn, 
that when the extraordinary dispensation ceased, 
the Jews, like all the world besides, arid by the same 
means of information, had all the benefit which the 
knowledge of this FUTURE STATE, such as it was, 
could afford them. 

But let us take the Doctor as we find him. 

He tells us why he looks upon my representation 
of the Mosaic Religion as a disgrace to Revelation. 
Because (says he) by the very act of God himself 
it shuts out his own chosen people from that single 
point of Knowledge which could be the foundation 
of a reasonable Worship. 
*Let us examine this curious period on all sides. 

By the act of God himself he must mean, (for 
nothing else can be meant ; and it is only when his 
meaning is thus circumstanced, that I can be certain, 
I do not mistake it) he must mean, I say, God s act, 
by the ministry of Moses. Now this very Doctor, 
in his several Pieces against The Divine Legation, 
has, over and over again, told his Reader, that Moses 



TO TEACH a future state to the Israelites. For, 
at every step, he brings himself into these distresses 
(if such a trifle as a contradiction can be supposed 
to distress him) by a false modesty. He was ashamed 
of the absurdity of his Brethren, who all along 
maintained, that Moses taught, or OUGHT to hare 
taught, a future state : and therefore, at tin s turn, 
leaves them in the lurch ; and slily steals in the 
better principle of his Adversary, that Moses had 
no Commission to teach it : for he must have been 
duller than any Doctor can be supposed to be, not 
to discover that this was his Adversary s principle, 
after having seen him write a large book to prove 
that, Moses did not teach it. I call this desertion 
of his Friends, a false modesty ; For what is it else, 
to be shocked at one of their absurdities, while he is 
defending all the rest? whose only support, too, 
happens to be in that ONE which he rejects. 
Indeed, good Doctor, 

- - - PUDOR TE MALUS llTget 

Insanos qui inter vereare Insanus habcri. 

But " God (says he) by this very act, shut out his 
own chosen people from the knowledge of a future 
state." It is very true, God s own chosen people 
were shut out. But not, as our Doctor dreams, 
by the very act of God himself: but (if he will 
have the Truth, who never seeks it, for itself) by 
the very act of their Forefather, ADAM. It was 
the First Man who shut them out ; and the door of 

VOL. IIL Y Paradise 

Paradise was never opened again, till the cowing 
of the Second Man, the Lord from Heaven. But 
this is the Language of Scripture : and this language 
his Sums and Systems do not teach him. But more 
of this secret hereafter. 

A future state (says our Doctor absolutely and 
without exception) is that single point of knowledge 
which could be the foundation of a reasonable wor 
ship. Here Doctors differ. St. Paul places the 
foundation of a reasonable worship in another thing.. 
He saith, that, HE THAT COMETH TO GOD MUST . 


ii 1 31 *. What is Man s purpose in coming to God? 
Without doubt, to worship him. And what doth 
the ^reat Doctor of the Gentiles tell us is the true, 
the reasonable foundation of this worship ? Why, 


foundation (we see) in a REWARD simply, and gene- 
rically ; not in that particular species of it, a FU 
TURE STATE. He places it in the nature , not (as 
our modern Doctor) in the inessential circumstances, 
of REWARD. The consequence is, that a reward 
given HERE was as solid a foundation of a reasonable 
Worship to the early Jews, living under an EX 
TRAORDINARY Providence, as a reward given 
HEREAFTER, is to us Christians, living under the 
HDINARY one. Another consequence (though it 

* Ileb. xi. 6. 



be but a triOe) is, that our learned Doctor is mis 
taken. But to come a little closer to this formidable 
man, now I have got the Apostle on my side, I 
will undertake to DEMONSTRATE (how much soever 
he and his Fellows take offence at the word) that a 
FUTURE STATE is so far from being the only foun 
dation of a reasonable Worship, that, as a MODE 
of e.mstence, it is no foundation at all. 
foundation of a reasonable Worship, being this and 
this only, that God is a rewarder of them who seek 
him. He may reward here, or he may reward here 
after. But, which he cruises is indifferent, as to 
the solidity of the foundation; because PIETY and 
MORALITY, which constitute a REASONABLE WOR 
SHIP, spring only from the belief that God is, and 
that he is a Rewarder. The Mosaic Religion, 
teaching this, enjoins that men should love God with 
all their hearts, with all their soul, &c. for the ex 
cellence of his nature ; and that they should love 
their neighbours as themselves, for the equality of 
their common nature, which requires an equal 
measure for ourselves and others. Now Jesus says, 
that, on the Love of God and of our Neighbour 
hang all the Law and the Prophets, i. e. in the most 
confined sense, it is the foundation of a reasonable 
Worship. Our Doctor says, No; a future state 
is the only foundation. In a word, then, since 
PiETY/which constitutes a reasonable worship, and 
since VIRTUE, which constitutes a reasonable service, 
are both raised and supported by the belief, that God 

v 2 is. 

is, and that he is a Rcwarder ; What more forci 
ble inducement is there in our selfish nature to 
cherish them, than that which the Law of Moses 
holds forth, when it teaches that every work shall 
receive its full rceompence of reward HERE? 
Here or hereafter, in this lite or in another, beino 
only the modes of receiving one and the same thing, 
cannot possibly affect either piety or morality. But 
it hath been taken for granted, that there is in 
future rewards something of a virtue to PURIFY 
the mind, which present rewards have not. I shall 
consider, before I have done with the question, on 
what ground this opinion stands. In the mean 
time, let us hear the famous Orobio, the Jew ; who, 
though little to his own purpose, yet much to ours, 
and to such Objectors to the purity of the Mosaic 
Law, as our Doctor Omnes [Christian!] cultum 
intcrnum predicant, quasi a Deo internus cultus 
sumrna cum perfectione in Lege non fuisset prse- 
scriptus ; Tota quidem interni cultus perfectio con- 
sistet in vero et constantissirno Dei ainore, et Proximi 
propter ipsum Deum : Hie est totus cultus internus 
rx quo oinnia opera externa, seu moralia, seu ritualia 
sint, debent profluere : qua? si ex hoc principio non 
emanaverint, impcrfectissima sunt, et divina Legi 
prorsus ad versa*. 

Our Doctor proceeds " God s chosen people 

* were shut out, for many ages, from that point 
M of knowledge, which, by the directions of his 

* P. 110, 

" Providence, 


4 Providence, all th e world besides were PERMITTED 
" to have the BENEFIT. 0/7 In examining the 
predicate of this proposition, I shall first consider 
the PERMISSION, and then the BENEFIT. 

All the, World besides (says he) were permitted. 
By what instrument? I ask; for they had no Re 
velation By the use of their Reason, says he. 
And had not the Jews the use of theirs ? No, replies 
he, not the free use : for their Prophet (according 
to you) delivering to them from God, a new Law 
and a new Religion in which the doctrine of a 
future state was omitted, this would naturally lead 
them to conclude against it. What ? in defiance 
of all the clear deductions of Reason, which, from 
God s demonstrable attributes of justice and good 
ness, made the Pagan world conclude, that as moral 
good and evil had not their retribution here, they 
would have it, hereafter ? Yes., for Moses PRO- 

MISED they should have their retribution here. 

What then ? other ancient Lawgivers promised their 
People the same thing. Yet this did not hinder 
their having recourse to a future state to secure 

O / 

the foundation of Religion, which, St. Paul tells us, 
is the belief that God is, and that he is the Re- 
warder of them that seek him. The matter now 
begins to pinch : and the Doctor must be dumb, 
or confess that the only possible reason one can 
assign why the Jews had not recourse to the same 
expedient for securing the foundation of Religion, 
which the Gentiles had recourse to, was because 
Y 3 they 


they felt the performance as well as heard the 
promise: For when that -was no longer felt (the 
extraordinary providence being withdrawn in pu 
nishment for their crimes) the Jews, like all other 
people, had their doctrine of a future state, which, 
by its complexion, is seen to he of foreign, and 
very spurious birth. 

See then, to what this PERMISSION amounts ; 
so invidiously urged, not against me, for that is 
nothing, but against the Scriptures of God ! Just 
to thus much " That all the world besides were 
permitted to find out, by REASON as they could, 
what his chosen people were taught, by the practical 
demonstration of au EXTRAORDINARY PROVI 
DENCE ; namely, that God would act with justice 
and goodness towards man." 

Come we next to the BENEFIT. The benefit of 
the doctrine of a future state is twofold ; to Society 
as such, by encouraging Virtue and suppressing 
Vice, under an unequal distribution of things ; to 
Religion as such, by affording a solid foundation 
to it, under the same distribution. But both these 
aids from the doctrine of a future state were more 
effectually afforded by an extraordinary Providence. 
We find, then, the learned Doctor to be miserably 
mistaken, in supposing the Gentiles enjoyed any 
spiritual benejit which the Jews were deprived of. 
The former indeed had a future state to support 
Society and Religion ; the latter had an extra 
ordinary Providence. Which of them was, in its 


nature, the most efficacious support, common sense 
will not suffer us to remain in> doubt. Hut the 
benefit of believing is one thing ; the benefit of 
having is another, I have only yet spoken to the 
first. Now, the Doctor seems to think the latter 
affected by the -OMISSION. We commonly hear it 
said, that seeing is believing ; but I suspect our 
learned Doctor has been imposed on by another 
Aphorism (as absurd in the thought as that is m 
the expression) that believing w having ; else how 
came he to place so great a benefit in the point in 
question, if he did not suppose that the Jews 1 want 
of the DOCTRINE would deprive them of the 


And now, in taking my final leave of this Cham 
pion in Ordinary to the Party Orthodoxal, let me 
not be here again misunderstood as I have so otten 
been by them. I deny, indeed, that the want of 
a future State, in the Moskc Religion, at all affected 
the true foundation of a reasonable Worship. Yet 
I am very far from denying, that the frame and 
constitution of this Religion rendered it, on many 
accounts, partial and incomplete. In my address 
to the Jews, prefixed to the second part of the 
Divine Legation, I have shewn in what particulars 
it was so. As, first, in the whole turn of the Ritual 
Law: and, secondly, in that OMISSION, at what 
time the Jews came under the ordinary and com 
mon Providence of Mankind. For I am there 
placing before these mistaken People a view of the 

y 4 Mosaic 

Mosaic Religion as it appears and operates at pre 
sent, in order to convince them of the necessity of 
its receiving its completion from the Region of 
Jesus. In which conclusion, 1 suppose, all Chris 
tians are agreed. At least, they who have escaped 
the thick darkness of controversy will see that these 
two assertions are very distinct and different, and 
at the same time consistent, i. That a Religion 
without a future state, wanted not, during the & ex- 
istence of an extraordinary providence, a solid 
foundation of a reasonable worship. And, 2%, 
that such a, Religion, if supposed to serve for all 
times and places, must needs be deemed incom 

This Omission of a future state in the Mosaic 
Religion is now generally acknowledged by all who 
read the Bible with the same impartiality that they 
read other Histories. Should not our Doctor, 
therefore, who pretends to believe the divinity of 
the Mosaic Religion, blush at his rashness in call 

it, indeed, in confidence that the early Jews were 
not ignorant of this matter. But will his confidence 
persuade impartial men against their senses? Were 
there but a chance of being mistaken in this sup 
posed knowledge of the early Jews, a sober Mi 
nister of God s word would have avoided the scandal 
of so irreverent an assertion ; so unsuitable to the 
veneration he owes to his Maker, when speaking of 
a Dispensation which he professes to believe did 


indeed come from him; and not have dared to 
measure this Dispensation of Providence by his 
scanty and obscure ideas of fit and right. The 
Author of 77/c Divine Legation demonstrated might, 
indeed, say, and I hope without offence, that the 
ignorance of the early Jews concerning a future 
state was a truth of so HIGH IMPORTANCE, that 
from thence might be demonstrated the divinity of 
their Religion ; because, though he should be mis 
taken, no injury was done to Revelation ; He left 
it whole and entire, just as he took it up. But 
should our Doctor be mistaken, his calling this 
ignorance (now found to be real) A DISGRACE TO 

o > 

REVELATION, would be supplying the Enemies of 
Religion with arms to insult it. The only excuse 
he can make for himself (an excuse full as bad as 
the offence) is, that he had now gone back to the 
common principle of his Party, which before he 
seemed to have rejected, That if God did not teach 
his chosen People a future state, he ought to have 
taught it. A species of folly, which the sage 
HOOKEK, to whom their Orthodoxy may haply be 
disposed to pay attention, has admirably reproved 
in another set of men, possessed with the same 
impious and presumptuous spirit c As lor those 
" marvellous discourses (says this great man) 
" whereby they [the Puritans] adventure to argue, 
" that God must needs hare dene the thing which 
" they imagined was to be done, I must confess, I 
V have often wondered at their exceeding boldness 

" herein. 

" herein. When the question is, Whether God 
" have delivered in Scripture (as they affirm he 
" hath) a complete particular immutable Form of 
" Churchy-politic, Why take they that other, both 
" presumptuous and superfluous, labour to prove ; 
" that HE SHOULD HAVE DONE IT, there being 
" no way, in this case, to prove the deed of God, 
i saving only by producing that evidence wherein 
" he hath done it ? For if there be no such thing 


" apparent upon Record, they do as if one should 
" demand a Legacie by force and virtue of some 
" written Testament, wherein there being no such 
" thing specified, he pleadetb, that THERE IT 
" MUST BE ; and bringeth arguments from the love 
" or good- will which always the testatour bore him ; 
i imagining that these or the like proofs will con- 
" vict a testament to have that in it, which other 
" men can no where by reading, find. In matters 
" which concern the actions of God, the most 
1 dutiful way, on our part, is to search what God 
<c hath done , and with meekness to ADMIRE that, 
Ci rather than to DISPUTE what he, in congruity 
" of reason, ought to do. The waies which he hath, 
" whereby to do all things for the greatest good of 
" his Church, are more in number than we can 
search, other in nature than we should presume 
" to determine, which, of many, should be the 
" fittest for him to choose, till such time as we see 
" he hath chosen, of many, some one ; which one 
" we then may boldly conclude to be the fittest, 

" because 


" because he hath taken it before the rest. When 
" we do otherwise, surely we exceed our bounds : 
" who, and where we are, we forget; and therefore 
" needful it is that our PRIDE, in such cases, be 
" controled, and our disputes beaten back with 
" those demands of the blessed Apostle, How un- 
" searchable arc his judgements, ami his ways pasi 
" finding out ! Who hath known- the mind of the 
" Lord, or who hath been his Counsellor* ? 

We have now done with the Orthodox DIVINE; 
and come, in good time, to the Freethinking PHI 

Dr. STEBBING, who sees a future state in the 
Mosaic Religion by a kind of SECOND SENSE, just 
as northern Highlanders see things to Lome by a 
SECOND SIGHT, affirms, only hypothetical^, that 
this Religion was a DISGRACE TO RELIGION : Our 
Philosopher, who can see in it nothing of futurity, 
affirms positively, that it was nuch a DISGRACE. 

The Philosopher s Principles incur no discredit, 
though he should fail in his conclusion, since he 
had discarded Revelation beforehand : But should 
the Divine be mistaken, he exposes his Principles 
to the scorn and contempt of Freethinkers, since 
he professes to believe Revelation. 

For the rest, the Philosopher stands charged with 
the same SOPHISTRY, of which the Divine hath 
been found guilty; the taking for granted the thing 

* Book iii. sub fin. 


in dispute, viz. that the Jews were under an unequal 
Providence. Yet here again both his sense and his 
modesty triumph over the Divine s. The Philo 
sopher, in the Opinion that the Jews were under 
an unequal Providence, betrays no Principles of 
Natural Religion, which he pretends to follow: 
The Divine, in avowing the same Opinion, betrays 
all the Principles of Revealed Religion, which he 
pretends to believe. 

Indeed, the Sophistry in both, is equally con 
temptible. For no principles, whether of belief or 
unbelief, can authorize a Disputant to take for 
granted the thing in question. The Author of The 
Divine Legation undertook to prove, that the early 
Jews were under an equal Providence, by this 
Medium, the Omission of a Future State in their 
Law ; and from thence concluded, that the Reli 
gion revealed by the ministry of Moses was true ; 
which, reduced to a syllogism, runs thus : 

Whatever Religion and Society have no future 
state for their support, must be suported by an ex 
traordinary Providence : 

The Jewish Religion and Society had no future 
state for their support : 

Therefore the Jewish Religion and Society were 
supported by an extraordinary Providence. 

To deny the major, as our Philosopher should 
have done ; to deny the minor, as our Divine did ; 
was fair argument. But to leave both, as the First 


hath done, without an answer, and deny only the 
conclusion, is, amongst all nations and languages, 


sopher would argue to the purpose, he should either 
shew that the premisses are false, and then he 
attacks the minor ; or that they do not infer the 
conclusion, and then he attacks the mtyor. lie 
does neitlier ; but, instead of this, having begged 
the question, he falls to syllogizing, in his turn 
Every Religion (says he) which is not founded in 
the Doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and 
eternal rewards and punishments, is necessarily 
false. But Judaism was ignorant of these doc 
trines. Therefore Judaism, so far from being up 
held by a providence, was even, on the Principles 
of the Author of the Divine Legation, a Religion 
false and barbarous, which attacked Providence 
itself. The Argument we see is in form : And, if 
you will believe the Philosopher, inforced upon nnj 
Principles. But, to bring his syllogism to bear 
against me, he must go upon this Postulatum, that 
the Law was not administered by an extraordinary 
Providence : And then, I dare appeal to his own 
venerable Bench of PHILOSOPHERS (if Logic hold 
any place in their school) whether the upshot of 
all his syllogizing be not taking for granted the 
thing in dispute. And if this were all, As these 
men have accustomed us to this beggarly way of 
reasoning, we might pass it over in silence and con 
tempt : But there is something more than ordinary 


perverse in the conduct of this syllogism. For, 
not content to beg the question, our Philosopher 
falsifies my Principles On the PRINCIPLES (says 
he) of the Author of the Divine Legation, Judaism 
was a false Religion. 

Now the Principles which, as a Christian, I be- 
Here , are these, " That Moses promised an extra 
ordinary providence, and that he omitted a future 

The Principles, which, as a Logician, I have 
proved, are these, " That the promise was fulfilled, 
and therefore that the Omission was attended with 
no hurtful consequences either to Religion or 

The Principles believed, I had collected from my 
Bible : the Principles proved, I had deduced from 
what I understood to be the conclusions of right 

How then (I would fain learn) can it fairly be 
inferred, from these Principles, that the Religion of 
Moses is FALSE? 

In the mean time, let me acquaint the Philoso 
phers, in what manner I infer from these Principles, 
that the Religion of Moses is TRUE. 

That Moses promised an extraordinary Provi 
dence, is held by all Believers ; and that he omitted 
a future state, is seen by all Unbelievers. Neither 
of them are mistaken. These are my Principles 
of belief. My purpose was to convince Unbe 
lievers, on their own grounds, that the promise was 



PERFORMED, and this I do by the MEDIUM of the 
Omission. How strongly let the Book itself de 
clare. These are my Principles of proof. 

It was amongst my more general Principles, 
That whatever Religion, under a comnwn Provi 
dence, omits to teach a future state, is certainly 
false. And it seems to he amongst our Philoso 
pher s logical conclusions, that, therefore, on this 
Principle of mine, whatever Religion under an &r- 
traordinary Providence omits to teacli a future 
state is false likewise. 

But the Philosophers syllogism seems to have 
been made up out of an Objection ill understood, 
which certain Divines brought against my argu 
ment; {for, of objections, against an offensive truth, 
there is neither end nor measure.) These Doctors 
of the Church objected, " That I should first of all 
have proved from Scripture that the promised Pro 
vidence was actually bestoiccd, before I used the 
service of my MEDIUM." Let me ask them for 
what end ? Should it be to convince Unbelievers ? 
But that it could not do ; for they reject the extra 
ordinary or supernatural part of Scripture-History. 
Did they mean, that it should have been done for 
their own satisfaction? But what need of that? 
Believers profess to hold that all which Moses pro 
mised was performed. What was it then that brought 
forth this Objection ? A mere blunder in their rea 
soning ; in the course of which, they had con 
founded two very different things, with one another 


The promise of an extraordinary providence, with 
the actual administration of it. They saw, that it 
was necessary previously to prove that Scripture 
speaks of the Administration of an extraordinary 
Providence, otherwise the medium, which I employ, 
would be vague in its aim, and uncertain in its 
direction. But they did not see, that this was clone 
by simply producing the promises of Moses on this 
point : And that as Unbelievers professed to allow 
thus much (and with Unbelievers only, I had to do) 
my point was to prove to them, on their own prin 
ciples, the actual performance of those promises by 
the medium of the OMISSION. It is true, indeed, 
had no extraordinary providence been promised, it 
had then been incumbent on me previously to have 
shewn, that Scripture represented the Israelites as 
living under such a providence, in order to give mv 
medium that certain direction, which leads to my 
Conclusion. But as it was promised, the Unbe 
liever s confession of thoi promise was all I wanted. 

Yet both Believers and Unbelievers have thought 
it of such consequence that the Argument of The 
Divine Legation should be discredited, that they 
have not scrupled to reverse all the Laws of Logic 
iu this important service. Hence the conclusion is 
turned into the premisses, for the use of our Doctors 
and the premisses into the Conclusion, for the use 
of our Philosophers. 

The ingenious Frenchman s second Argument 
against The Divine Legation is in these words 

" Either 


" Either Moses was acquainted with this doctrine 
" [a future state], and, in this case, he deceived 
u the Jews in not communicating it to them; Or 
" he was ignorant of it, and, in this case, lie did 
" not know enough for the Founder of a Good 
" Religion." 

As to the first charge, of his deceiving the Jews, 
I have answered it long ago, in rny animadversions 
on Lord BOLINGBROKE, from whom the argument 
is taken. 

As to the second, that Moses s ignorance made 
him incapable of founding a good Religion, it 
receives all its strength from an equivocation in the 
term, good\ and a misrepresentation of the nature 
of the Mosaic History. 

Good may signify either relative or absolute; 
good for some, or good for all. Our Philosopher 
confounds these two meanings. A good Religion 
designed for all men, cannot be without a future 
state: But a Religion given to a single Tribe, 
singularly circumstanced, may be goody without a 
future state. 

Moses (says he) ignorant of a future state, 
knew not enough to found a good Religion. Had 
Moses, when he said nothing of & future state, been 
equally silent concerning an extraordinary Pro 
vidence, He might, I will confess, be concluded 
by our Philosopher (who supposes him a mere civil 
Lawgiver and uninspired) not to know enough to 
found a good religion : But when the Philosopher 

VOL. III. Z himself 

himself tells us that Moses had promised this extra^ 
ordinary providence when he omitted a future state ; 
then, even on his own Idea of the Character of 
Moses, he can never rationally conclude, that the 
Lawgiver was not knowing enough in his office, 
to found a good Religion, since we find that he did 
indeed know the use of a future state, as he pro 
vided a succedaneum for the want of it. Now, a 
Religion which teaches all that natural Religion 
teaches, viz. that God is, and that he is a rewarder 
of them who seek him, must needs be a good Reli 
gion; and the Founder cf it a perfect Master of 
his business. 

Let us consider what all other Lawgivers did, 
whom our Philosopher will allow to have known 
enough. They founded their Religions on this 
common Principle, That God is, and that he is a 
Rewarder, c. The doctrine of a future state was 
ho more than a security for this Foundation, by 
a proper sanction, under an unequal Providence, 
Moses, under an equal dispensation of things, 
wanted not this sanction for the security of his 
Foundation, and therefore did riot employ it. 

But then (adds the Philosopher) if the Mosaic 
Religion was A GOOD Religion, JVhy was it abo 
lished ? His equivocation in the use of the word 
good, which may signify either relative or absolute 
good, hath been already taken notice of. Had the 
Mosaic Religion been absolutely good, that is, good 
for all men as well as for the Jews, it had certainly 



never been abolished. But good, in this sense, he well 
knows, the Religion of Moses was never said to be, 
by the Author of The Divine Legation, or any 
other Believer. They only contend for its relative 
goodness. It was relatively good, they say, as it fully 
answered the design of God who gave it ; which 
was, to preserve a chosen People^ separate from the 
rest of mankind, to be a repository for the doctrine 
of the UNITV; and to prepare the way for the 
further R evelation of a Religion absolutely good, 
or a Religion for the use of all Mankind. Now> 
to ask, Why a Religion only relatively good was 
abolished, to make way for another absolutely good, 
for the sake of which, the first was given in the 
interim, is a question that could be kept in coun 
tenance by nothing but the impertinence of a formal 

But, as our Philosopher, by his question, " If 
" the Mosaic Religion was a good religion, Why 
" was it abolished ? " seems to deny the justice 
and reasonableness of such a conduct in the Deity, 
I shall attempt, a little more fully, 

to justify the ways of God to man. 

" TRUE Religion (says he) should be for all times 
" and all places." I have rarely found any other 
labour in solving an objection to Revelation, than in 
detecting and exposing the ambiguity and equivo 
cation of the terms, in which such are almost 
always delivered. It is the case here. True Religion 

z 2 (as 

(as we before observed of good} may cither signify a 
perfect Religion, or a Religion, truly coming from 
God. True Religion, in the sense of a perfect Reli- 
wn, hath certainly the attributes here assigned to 
it, of being for all times and places ; and this, we 
say, is amongst the attributes of the CHRISTIAN. 
But tru-e Religion in the sense only of a Religion 
truly corning from God, like the MOSAIC, doth 
imply no such universality ; as shall be now shewn. 

The assertion stands on this Principle, " That it 
is not agreeable to what the best Philosophy teacheth 
concerning the Nature and Attributes of the Deity, 
to give a rule of life to one particular people, 
exclusive of the rest of Mankind:" because such 
a dispensation would imply partiality and an im 
potent fondness for one above the rest. Now if 
God s revealing himself to one Race or Family doth 
imply in the act itself such a partiality, the Prin 
ciple 13 well founded. But, it is apparent to common 
sense, that it doth not imply it; since various other 
.reasons, besides partial fondness, may be assigned 
for the act. To know whether a partialjondness be 
the motive, we must attend to the reasons which 
the Divine Author hath given for the Dispen 
sation; either explicitly by words in the declarations 
Of his Messengers, or implicitly by circumstances 
attending the Gift. 

Now, we say, that the Jewish Religion (the Dis 
pensation in question) contains all these proots, both 
express and implied, of its not being given out of 
4 J ondmsi 


fondness for the Jews, or under a neglect of the 
Gentiles; but, on the contrary, for the sake of 
Mankind in general. 

It is notorious, to all acquainted with ancient 
History, that, at the time Moses revealed the Law 
of God to the Jews, the whole Posterity of Adam, 
by some disaster or other, had forgot the Lord their 
Creator, and were sunk into the grossest Idolatries, 
It is agreeable to all the ideas we have of God s 
goodness, that he should rescue the human Race 
from the miserable condition into which they had 
fallen, through the abuse of their free-will ; and 
out of which, by their own strength, they were 
unable to extricate themselves. 

The only remaining question, then, will be, 
Whether, in this charitable work, Gop should seek 
the way of performing it, in our ideas, or in his 
own ? The Philosopher says, without all doubt m 
ours: God should have relieved his labouring 
Creatures all at once, and have proceeded directly 
to the END, an universal Religion like the Christian; 
instead of stopping so long at the MEANS, a partial 
Religion like the Jewish. If God had any tiling to 
dp in the matter, we may be assured, the universal 
Religion would be delayed no longer than to the 
time in which he foresaw, that the giving of it would 
produce the best effects. And as Ages and Seasons 
are in the hand of God, HE only knows the proper 
Jime for the accomplishment of his end Indeed, 
were Man a machine, and to be governed only by 
z 3 thq 


the Laws of matter and motion, we can conceive 
no reason why infinite Wisdom did not pursue that 
direct course which led immediately to the END, 
instead of exercising its Providence so long in the 
support and continuance of the MEANS. But as, in 
the opinion of Religionists of all kinds, man is not a 
machine, but was created an accountable Creature ; 
and as none can be accountable without the power 
and use of FREE-WILL; this Creature was to be 
drawn (according to God s own expression) with the 
cords of a man. But He only, who formed the 
human heart, and knows what is in man, can tell 
when these cords are to be relaxed, and when drawn 
straight. In other words, the best means or method 
of bringing all mankind to God s truth cannot 
possibly be known by any but Himself. When we 
have seen the method employed, and the effects it 
hath produced, we have a sure way of knowing that 
it was the best ; because it was employed by an all? 
wise Conductor. 

Now the Jewish Religion was the great MEAN, 
employed by Providence, of bringing all men to 
CHRIST. If this can be proved, and that the Mosaic 
Law was not given to the Jews out of any partial 
fondness for them, it will appear that a Religion 
may be true, though it were not designed for all 
times and places. 

ABRAHAM (as appears by the history of his 
Race) was called by God out of an idolatrous City, 
to be the Father and founder of a People, which, 



sequestered from all other, was to preserve amongst 
them, as in a sure Repository, the name and 
memory of the Creator; at this point of time, 
in imminent danger of being obliterated and lost ; 
to preserve it, I say, till the fulness of time should 
come ; that is, till an Universal Religion, founded in 
the mystery of Redemption, should be revealed. 
In the very entrance on this MEANS, the END was 
imparted to the Father of the Faithful, viz. that 


When the race of Abraham were now become 
numerous enough to support themselves in a National 
sequestration, God informs them, by the ministry 
of Moses, that the immediate blessings attending this 
sequestration, were bestowed upon them for the sake 
of their Father, Abraham, as the sequestration itself 
was ordained for the sake of all Mankind, intimated 
in the promise, that in his name all the Families 
upon earth should be blessed. By the ministry of his 
Prophets He repeats the same Lesson to them, viz. 
that this distinction was not for their sakes, but for 
his holy name s sake , that is, for the better mani 
festation of his gracious Dispensation to all mankind. 
And, without question, the exceeding perversity 
and unworthiness of this People was recorded in 
eacred story, as for other uses to us unknown, 
so for this, to obviate that egregious folly both of 
Jews and Gentiles, in supposing that the Israelites 
were thus distinguished, or represented to be thus 
z 4 distinguished, 

distinguished, as the peculiar Favourites of Heaven. 
An absurdity which all who attended to the nature 
of the God of Israel could confute : and which 
the Jewish History amply exposes. 

But if their HISTORY informs us for what they 
were not selected, their LAW and their PROPHETS 
inform us, for what they were. These declare, 
in their different modes of information, that this 
Religion was given, to prepare men for, and to 
facilitate the reception of, one UNIVERSAL. 

In the first place, Let us consider the RITUAL 
or CEREMON i A L Law. If what I have here assigned 


to be, was, in truth, the end of the Jewish Dispen 
sation, we may expect to find this Ritual declara 
tive of such a purpose. And on examination it will 
be found to be so. The whole body of the ritual 
Law being framed, in part, to oppose to the pre 
vailing superstition of the Age in which it was 
given; and, in part, to prefigure that future Dis 
pensation, which was to take it away. By virtue of 
I\\Q first part of its nature, the Jews were kept 
separate : and by virtue of the second, they were 
prepared to receive, and enabled to understand, the 
Religion of their promised Messiah. This, for the 
sake of mankind in general, was a necessary pro 
vision, since the first Preachers of the Gospel were 
preordained to be taken from amongst the Jewish 

As to the PROPHETS, which from time to time 
were sent amongst them for the support of the 

LAW . 


LAW : These (as appears by their predictions) had 
it principally in their Commission to acquaint their 
Countrymen occasionally, and by slow degrees, with 
the approaching GHANGE of their Economy, and 
with the different NATURE of the new Dispensation. 

Amongst the several intimations given them of the 

change, I shall select only two of the most capital ; 

the one is concerning the punishment of Children 

for the crimes of their Fathers ; the other, of the 

abolition of the Temple Worship. 

I have shewn that the first was promulged in aid 
of the sanction of the Jewish Law, in the absence 
of ^future state: but of no further use after the reve 
lation of Life and immortality. So that Jeremiah, 
prophesying of this future Dispensation, says In 
those days they shall say no more. The Fathers have 
eaten a sour grape, and the Children s teeth are set 
on edge. But everyone shall die for his own iniquity ; 
every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall 
be set on edge*. Yet such hath been the fortune 


of this illustrious evidence of the connexion between 
the old and new Law, that it has been represented 
as a contradiction between the Law and the Pro 
phets r \. Although Jeremiah, as if on set purpose 
to obviate so foolish a calumny, immediately adds 
-Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will 
make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel 
and Judah ; i. e. " The Reason why I take, away 

* Jer. xxxi. 29, 30. 

f ee Book V. Sect. 5. of this Work. J Jer. xxxi. 3 1 . 



this support of the sanction is, because the sanction 
itself will be abolished." 

Another intimation of the change of the Dispen 
sation is the Prophecy concerning the abolition of 
the Temple Worship. From the account given of 
the nature of the Jewish Law, it appears that the 
principal Rites of their Religious Worship were to 
be performed and celebrated in some appropriated 
and determined Place. This, the object and subject 
of their CEREMONIAL seemed equally to require: 
For the ideas of a tutelary God and King implied 
a LOCAL RESIDENCE ; and a national Act, created 
and arising from these relations, required a fixed and 
certain place for its celebrations. This, which the 
nature and reason of things so evidently point out, 
the institutes of the Law expressly order and enjoin. 
During the early and unsettled times of the Republic, 
the sacrifices prescribed by the Mosaic Ritual were 
directed to be offered up before the door of an 
ambulatory Tabernacle : But when they had gained 
the establishment decreed for them, and a magni 
ficent Temple was now erected for the God of 
Israel, from henceforth all sacrifices were to be 
offered at Jerusalem only. Now sacrifices consti 
tuting the very essence of their national Worship, 
their Religion could no longer subsist than while 
that celebration continued. Yet the Prophets fore 
told, that a time would come when there should be 
no longer any TEMPLE WORSHIP ; which, in other 
words, was to foretell a change in the Dispensation. 



Zephaniah says, The Lord shall be terrible Men 
shall worship him every one FROM HIS PLACE, even 
all the isles of the GENTILES * every one from his 
place; that is, " they were not to go up to JERU 
SALEM to worship." This lie expresses more pre 
cisely in another place In that day, there shall be 
an ALTAR to the Lord in the midst of the Land of 
EGYPT f; i.e. " the Temple-service shall be abo 
lished." Which Malachi thus confirms, in a diver 
sified expression And IN EVERY PLACE incense 
shall be offered unto thy name, and a PURE OF 
FERING J ; i. e. "it shall not be the less acceptable 
for not being offered up at the Temple of Jerusalem? 
But the Prophets not only give information of the 
CHANGE of the old, but explain the NATURE of the 
new Dispensation. Isaiah, speaking of this change, 
intimates its nature in these words As the Heavens 
are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher 
than your ways, and my thoughts than your 
thoughts , And explains it more clearly by the 
following figure ; Instead of the thorn shall come up 
the fir-tree, and instead of the brier shall come up 
the myrtle-tree || ; i. e. " the new Religion shall as 
far excel the old as the fir-tree does the thorn; or, 
the myrtle, the brier." Behold (says the same Pro 
phet, speaking in the name of Go$) I create NEW 

* Chap. ii. ver 11. t Chap. xix. ver. 19. 

J Chap. i. ver. 11. Chap. Iv. ver. 9. 

H Chap. Iv. ver. 13. 



HEAVENS and a NEW EARTH; and the former 
shall not be remembered or come in mind*. Behold 
the days come y saith the Lord, (by the Prophet 
Jeremiah) that I mil make a NEW COVENANT 
with the house of Israel not according to the 
covenant that I made with their Fathers But this 
shall be the covenant I will put my Law into their 
INWARD TARTS, and write it in their HEARTS*}*. 
What Isaiah figuratively names, a new Heaven and 
a new Earth, Jeremiah, more simply and literally, 
calls a new Covenant. And what kind of Covenant ? 

I will put my Law into their inward parts, &e. 
i. e. " this Law shall be spiritual, as the other 
given to their Fathers was carnal" But, concern 
ing the nature of this prophetic phraseology, and 
the reasons of its use, the Reader may see it ex 
plained at large in the second part of this Work J, 

From all this it appears (if we may credit the 
clearest conclusions of human reason) that a Reli 
gion may be true, though it be not fitted for all 
times and places, A proposition which (although; 
our Philosopher takes for granted) carries its ab 
surdity in the very face of it, 

hut, says this ingenious Writer True Religion 
should be like the spleudcur of the Sun, which ex 
tends its beams to all People and to all Generations. 

-When the controversy runs from reasoning to 
simile, it begins to smell of the Poet rather than 

* Ch.lxv. ver. 17. f Ch. xxxi.ver. 31. 

{ Book VI. Sect. 6. 



the Philosopher. What relation, what connexion 
is there between the Sun and Religion, more than 
In a fanciful analogy? Light is a physical emanation 
operating on this material Globe: Revelation, a 
voluntary gift bestowed upon the rational Inhabi 
tants of it. All they hold in common is, that they 
are both blessings, but of very different kinds.- 
Or was it the Poet s intention, in this simile, to in 
sinuate the Philosophers system of NATURALISM? 


So much for the strait-laced Divine and the 
loose-bodied Philosopher ; but to the SOBER RE 
LIGIONIST, of whatever denomination, I have 
something more to say ; and I hope so much to his 
satisfaction, that this objection to the Mosaic Law, 
from the OMISSION of a future state, shall never 
hereafter be considered in the learned world, as 
any other than an ignorant prejudice. 

Now to understand how Revelation in general is 
affected by the representation which I have given 
of the Jewish, it will be necessary to consider, 
What the light of Nature teacheth us concerning 

The true idea of natural Religion (defining and 
including the essence wherein it consists) is no where 
so concisely, so fully, and so elegantly delivered as 
by St. PAUL in these words, He who cometh to 
God must believe that he is ; and that he is a Re- 
warder of them who diligently seek him : In other 


words, the sum of natural Religion (he tells us) is 
this, " Belief in God, and that he rewards his 
faithful Worshippers ; which implies his punishing 
the unfaithful." While this is steadfastly believed, 
natural Religion stands on a solid Basis. If any 
thing be seen in God s dispensing Providence here; 
which shews that God is not always a Rewarder> 
&c. the Belief is shaken, and Religion is in danger. 
The unequal distribution of things here below en 
dangers it ; and it becomes re-established by the 
intervention of the Doctrine of a FUTURE STATE. 
Thus, we see, the belief of & future state is not of 
the Essence of NATURAL RELIGION^ but one of 
the accidents of it only ; for were the distribution 
equal, as from the Being and Attributes of the 
Deity (abstractedly considered) one might be led 
to expect, a future state had never come into the 
definition of natural Religion. 

The Mosaic Religion was aREPUBLiCATioiv of 
natural Religion to the Jews. And all it taught, 
concerning its sanction, was, that God is, and that 
he is a Rewarder, &c. The reason why a future 
state was omitted is apparent : Moses assured them 
they were under the dispensation of an equal Pro 
vidence here. And now let me ask, How it comes 
to pass that the selfsame system of Religion, which, 
one way (by the light of reason) revealed to man, 
does honour to God, if we believe St. Paul ; yet, 
another way, revealed (by Moses) does dishonour 

; if we give credit to our modern Divines ? 


When God separated a chosen People^ he gave 
them, for their Belief, the principles of NATURAL 
RELIGION (republished by the Ministry of Moses) 
in its ORIGINAL and most perfect Form, under an 
equal Providence. And yet this circumstance, which 
sets it far above its publication amongst the Gen^ 
tiles by natural light, is esteemed a disgrace to it ; 
and men rather chuse to piece-out God s Dispen 
sation from what they can find in the lumber and 
rubbish of Paganism, than receive it in its native 
simplicity and genuine grandeur*: And, because 
natural Religion, disturbed and corrupted amongst 
the Gentiles, was forced to lean on the Crutch of 
a future state, they will needs find the same prop 
for the pure and perfect, as REPUBLISHED by 
Moses, though it stands upright, under an extra 
ordinary Providence. 

The truth is, this false idea arises from an in 
veterate error (to be exposed at large in the last 
Volume of this Work) that natural Religion not 
only teaches a future state, (which it does indeed, 
though by accident only) but that it teaches this 
state to be ENDLESS, which it neither does, nor 
can do. All it teaches is, that God is, and that he 
is a Recorder ; whether here or hereafter is to be 
collected from the mode of God s dispensing Pro 
vidence here. 

This error, which confounds all our reasoning on 
God s moral Government, arose, in part, from a 


later Revelation, the Christian, ill understood (of 
which more hereafter) ; and, in part, from false and 
visionary Metaphysics. 

1. But, say they, " Admitting that natural Re 
ligion taught no more than St. Paul learned of it, 
yet surely a Revelation, such as the Mosaic, must 
contain more, or why was it given?"- I will answer 
these men in their own way It was given as a 
republication of the Religion of Nature : For though 
they were egregiously mistaken in receiving the 
Christian Religion fur no more ; yet it is very cer* 
tain, the Mosaic, with regard to Doctrine, was, 
indeed, just such a Republication, and no other. 
Nor, does human conception discover any thing 
incongruous in the moral conduct of the Deity, 
when he RENEWS those Laws, first revealed in an 
ordinary way, and by the folly of men become 
almost erased ; to renew them, I say, in an extra 
ordinary. For we do not oppose the talk of Chris 
tianity s being only such a republication on account 
of any incongruity in the thing itself; hut because, 
that, when applied to the Christian Religion, this 
definition of it is both false and imperfect, and 
averse to the whole genius and nature of the Dis 

2. But, secondly, it may be said, That " the 
Doctrine of future rewards is of force to purify 
and spiritualize the mind ; which that of temporal 



rewards is not." To this, I reply, That the known 
rewards here, or the unknown hereafter, leave the 
mind just in that state in which Religion itself, or 
Piety towards God, hath put it. It is the FREE 
OBEDIENCE to his commands, not the sense of the 
necessary consequence of that obedience, which 
rectifies the Will, and purifies the Affections. 

But the mistake, here confuted, arises from men s 
having confounded a future state, as discoverable 
by natural light, with foe future state as announced 
in the Gospel. Now, Natural light discovers to 
us nothing of the Nature of that State ; and there 
fore leaves the mind in that situation in which an 
indefinite Reward puts it. The Gospel, indeed, 
defines a future state so fully, as to enable the doc 
trine to purify and spiritualize the Mind, above all 
other modes of Religion. 

But what does this concession infer ? That the 
Mosaic Religion, which taught an equal Providence, 
but omitted to teach a future state, was unworthy 
of God ? Surely not. For then it would follow, 
that natural Religion, that other revelation of God s 
will, which taught no future state, till Providence 
here was found to be unequal, was likewise un 
worthy of Him. What then, does it infer? This, 
and this only, That the Mosaic Religion wants 
much of that perfection which the Christian hath. 
Now, this truth is not only acknowledged, but con 
tended for. 

VOL. III. A A The 


The Question then may return, Could God, 
according to the idea we have of his attributes, give 
a less perfect Religion, in order to facilitate the 
reception of one more perfect? The question may 
return, I say, but in order to be sent back for its 
confutation, to the answer already bestowed upon ifc. 
in the examination of M. Voltaire s Objections. 




P. 10. [A]. 

IT may not be improper, on this occasion, to 
present the Reader with an extract from a Letter 
of the late President MONTESQUIEU to the Authqf, 
who had given him some account of Lord Boling- 
broke s Posthumous Works, just then on the point 
of publication " J ay lu quelques ouvrages de 
" My Lord Bolingbroke Or, Monsieur, dans cet 
" ouvrage posthume, dont vous me donnes une 
" ide, il me sernble qu il vous prepare une matiere 
" contmuelle de triomphe. Celui qui attaque la 
" Religion revelee n attaque que la Religion revelee ; 
" mais celui qui attaque la Religion naturelle attaque 
" toutes les Religions du monde. Si Ton enseigne 
" aux hommes qu ils n ont pas.ce frein ci ? ils peuvent 
" penser qulls en ont un autre : Mais il est bien 
" plus pernicieux de leur enseigner qu ils n en ont 
" pas du tout. 11 n est pas impossible d attaquer une 
" Religion revelee, parce qu elle existe par desfaits 
" particuliers, et que les faits, par leur nature, 
" peuvent etre une matiere de dispute : .mais |1 ii en 

A A 2 " St 


" est pas de mme de la Religion naturelle ; elle est 

" tiree de la nature de I homme, dont on ne peut 

" pas disputer, et du sentiment mterfeur de I homme, 

" dant on ne peut pas disputer encore. J ajoute a 

" ceci, Quel pent etre le motif d attaquer la Reli- 

" gion revel ee en Anglcterre ? on Ty a tellement 

" purge de tout prejuge destructeur qu elle n y peut 

" faire de mal, et qu elle y peut faire, au contraire, 

u une infinite de biens. Je sais, qu un homme en 

" Espagne ou en Portugal que Ton va bruler, on 

" qui craint d etre brule, parce qu il ne croit point 

" de certains articles dependans ou non de la Re- 

" liizion revelce, a une juste sujet de Fattaquer, 

" parce qu ii peut avoir quelque esperance de 

" pourvoir a sa defence naturelle : Mais il n en est 

" pas de ineme en Angleterre, ou tout homme qui 

" attaque la Religion revel ee 1 attaque sans interest, 

" et ou cet homme quand il reussiroit, quand inline 

" il auroit raison dans le fond, ne feroit que detruire 

" une infinite de biens pratiques pour etafolir une 

" verite purernent speculative. J ay et6 ravi, &c. 
" A Paris, ce 26 May, 1754-" MONTESQUIEU." 

P. 10. [B] Strabo s \vords are Kl ^cSa?, xj 

aTr^iAa?, % $iol Atycov, r t hoc TVTTM utagtav, * . Eears and 

threatenings either by words or dreadful forms." 
Casaubon, who corrected the last word very justly, 
has given us no explanation of the allusion in this 
obscure sentence. I am persuaded, the author had 
in his mind the dreadful words spoken, and the 



representations exhibited in the Mysteries, for the 
very purpose the author here mentions : so aVsiAaV 
refers to Aoywv, and ?o*j to TJITWV *upuv. 
reader, who remembers what has been said in the 
section of the Mysteries, in the foregoing book, 
concerning this matter, will be inclined to believe 
this to be the true explanation. 


P. 1 7. [C] And, without doubt, this was amongst 
the reasons for his declining, throughouUhejwhple 
course of his life, the study and the teaching of 
physics, or natural philosophy, which had a direct 
tendency to shake and overturn one half of tiie 
national religion, namely the worship of, what were 
called, the celestial Gods, or Host of Heaven. 

P. 18. [D] We have, indeed, been told, that, to 
his Cock he might have added a Bull ; for that the 
Philosopher was now in a delirium, occasioned by 
the cicuta, to which, Scribonius Largus attributes 
this effect. But I apprehend, the eminent persons 
who then attended the last moments of the expiring 
Philosopher (and must have been well apprised of 
the nature of a draught^ whose legal application to 
criminals of state had made its effects familiar to 
every one) would have been the first to observe 
this symptom, if, indeed, the drug had any such 
property. Whereas they speak of Socrates as per 
fectly in his senses when he made this request; 
and I think They are rather to be relied on who 
A A 3 understood 


understood what related both to the sacrifice and the 
drug, than They who know so little of either ; espe 
cially as we find this rite was exactly suitable to the 
foregoing declaration of CONFORMITY, in his defence 
before his judges. 

P. 2 1 . [E] Duplex enim erat doctrine genus 
apud antiquas gentes, Supiahs ^ aVop p flov, doctrina 
vulgaris & doctrina arcana : idque non tantum ob 
diversitatem material, sed eandem saepe rnateriam 
duplici modo tractabant, popular! & philosophica. 
Archaeol. Phil.l. i. c. 8. See this matter explained at 
large by the very learned author of the Critical In 
quiry into the Opinions and Practice of the ancient 
Philosophers, $c. 2d edit. chap. xi. xii. & xiii. 

P^2i. [F] " The author of the philosophical 
" piece commonly ascribed to Origen, says, That 
" he sometimes complied with the popular opinion, 
" and declared that the universe would be one day 

" destroyed. Kai Il&ppsvifaq tv pin TO Tzrai/ uVor/0/Iai, 
c AIAIONTE, xj Kyiwylov, KM G-Qigoii$ls aT aJroj 
< EK^EYrnN THN TfiN is-oAXwv AOHAN, OTU^ 
" AEywv xai yw TA2 TOT HANTO2 APXAZ, rjv 
[ yv\v, Jf uXnv" TO $\ ixru^, w? aiTiov, xa) VTOIKH 
" TON, KO2MON EIHE ^0EIP20AI. It appears 
" too from this passage that he spoke popularly, 
< when he said that the world was made, or had 
" a beginning; and that this doctrine was merely 
" .popular, may be seen too from the following 

" words 

" words of Themistius. Ka <yy.% o 

" lv TOiV 73-pO? M%KV, TO SsppOV VOW H3" TO 

" then evident from these passages that, in his 

" esoterics, he gave the world both a beginning 

" and an end. But then in his other writings he 

" denied that it had either. I need not quote 

" Cicero, Plutarch, or Eusebius, to prove this; 

" the following verses of his own are sufficient for 

" my present purpose : 

" Aurap ax viflov jusyaAwv lv -srsipcuri ferpuv 
" "Er*v ANAPXON, AIIAY2TON, lvt\ TENE2I2 xa! 

See the Critical Inquiry into the Opinions and Prac 
tice of the ancient Philosophers, p. 225. 2d edit. 

P. 29. [G] One of the Answerers of The Divine 
Legation says, " What a noble field would have 
" been here opened for the FATHERS, could they 
have charged the Pagan sages and philosophers 
" with the dissimulation .which Mr. W. has here 
" done ! Could they have loaded them with the 
" crime of believing one thing and teaching another, 
r< with LYING, with imposing on the credulity of 
<c the people; what a display of rhetoric should we 
" have had ! Could there have been a more fit 
occasion for satire or declamation ? BUT THEY 


A A 4 Dr - Sykes s 

Dr. Sykes s Exam. p. 88. The gravity of all this 
is so rarely contrasted with its profound knowledge, 
that the Header cannot find in his heart to be angry 
with him for what follows, from these FATHERS; 
with whom the good Doctor appears to be so well 

ARNOBIUS, speaking of this custom of believing 
one thing and teaching another, says : Nunc vero, 


cos estis contumeliosi, quibus id attribuitis, quod 
eos, confitemini non esse : et irrdigiosi esse mon- 
stramini, cum id adoratis quod fingitis, non quod 
in re esse, ipsaque in veritate censetis. Z. iii. p. 109. 
Lugd. ed. 

EUSEBIUS reproaches Plato on this very account : 
charges him with mean dissimulation for teaching 
doctrines which he believed to be false, merely out 
of reverence to the laws of his country. K*| ^ 

. Evan. xiii. c. i. 

C. 15. 

LACTANTIUS reproves Cicero for the same prac 
tice : Cum videainus etiam doctos et prudentcs 
VL-OS, cum religionum intelligant vanitatem, nihil- 
ominus tamen in iis ipsis, qua? damnant, colendis, 
KTESCIO QUA PKAviTATE, perstare. Intelligebat 
Cicero falsa esse, qua3 homines adorarent : nain 
cum multa dixisset, qua? ad eversionem religionum 

valercnt ; 


valerent: ait tamen non esse ilia vulgo disputanda, 
ne susceptas publice religiones disputatio talis ex- 
tinguat : Quid ei facies, qui, cum errare se sentiat, 
ultro ipse in lapides impingat, ut populus omnis 
ofTendat ? Ipse sibi oculos eruat, ut omnes casci 
sint ? Qui nee de aliis bene mereatur, quos patitur 
errare ; nee de seipso, qui alienis accedit erroribus ; 
nee utitur tandem sapientias suae bono, ut factis 
impleat, quod mente percepit. Div. Instit. 1. ii. c. 3. 

St. AUSTIN S account of Seneca is not at all more 
favourable. .Sed iste quern philosophi quasi liberum * 
fecerunt, tamen quia illustris populi Romani Senator 
erat, colebat quod reprehendebat ; agebat, quod 
arguebat; quod culpabat, adorabat. Eo damna- 
bilhiSj quod ilia quas MENDACITER agebat sic 
ageret, ut populus veraciter agere existimaret. De 
civ. Dei, 1. vi. c. i o. 

But tbis Father concludes all the Pagan sages 
and philosophers under the same condemnation, 
for IMPOSING (as Dr. Sykes expresses it) ON THE 
CREDULITY OF THE PEOPLE, and with satire and 
declamation enough of conscience, if that will sa 
tisfy the Doctor Quod utique non aliam ob causam 
factum videtur, nisi quia homines velut prudentium 
et mpientium negotium fuit, POPULUM IN RELI 
GION IBUS FALLERE, et in eo ipso non solum colere, 
sed imitari etiam Dtfmones. Sicut enim Dremones 
nisi eos quos fallendo deceperint, possidere non 
possunt, sic et homines principes non sane justi sed 
* Alluding to the Stoical wise man. 



Ultfmoniim similes, ea qua? vana esse no.verant, 
religionis nomine populis tanquam vera suadebant, 
hoc rnodo cos civili societati velut arctius alligantes. 
De civit Dei, 1. iv. c. 132. 

P. 38. [II] One scarce meets with any thing 
in antiquity concerning Pythagoras s knowledge in 
physics, but what gives us fresh cause to admire the 
wonderful sagacity of that extraordinary man. This 
story of his predicting earthquakes has so much the 
air of a fable, that I believe it has been generally 
ranked (as it is by Stanley) with that heap of trash, 
which the enthusiastic Pythagoreans and Platonists 
ef the lower ages have raked together concerning 
him. Yet we learn from the collections of Pliny 
the Elder, which say " futuro . terrae motu, est 
in put as turbidior aqua" 1. ii. c. 83. that the an 
cients profited of this discovery, verified by a modern 
relation of Paul Dudley, Esq. in the Philosophical 
Transactions, N 437. p. 72. who, speaking of an 
earthquake which lately happened in New England, 
gives this remarkable account of its preceding 
symptoms : " A neighbour of mine, that has a 
" Well thirty-six feet deep, about three days before 
" the earthquake, was surprized to find his water, 
<f that used to be very sweet and limpid, stink to 
" that degree that they could make no use of it, 
" nor scarce bear the house when it was brought 


" in ; and thinking some carrion was got into the 

O o 

" Well, he searched the bottom, but found it clear 
i " and 


" and good, though the colour of the water was 
" turned wheyish, or pale. In about seven days 
" after the earthquake, his water began to mend, 
" and in three days more returned to its former 
" sweetness and colour." 

P. 42. [I] Caesar (says Cato) bene et composite 
paulo ante, in hoc or dine, de vita et morte disseruit, 
credo falsa existumans ea quse de inferis MEMO- 
JIANTUR. Apudeund. Cicero s reply is to the same 
purpose : Itaque ut aliqua in vita formido improbis 
esset posita, apud inferos ejusmodi qusedam illi 
ANTIQUI supplicia impiis constituta esse voluwunt: 
quod videlicet intelligebant, his remotis, non esse 
mortem ipsam pertimescendam. Orat. iv. in Ca- 
tilin. 4-1 cannot conceive what the very ingenious 
Mr. Moyle could mean in his Essay on the Roman 
Government^ by saying, if the immortality of the 
soul (by which he means the doctrine of a future 
state of rewards and punishments) had been an 
ESTABLISHED doctrine, Ctfsar would not have deri 
ded it in the face of the whole senate. DG not the 
words of Cicero Antiqui supplicia impiis constituta 
esse voluenmt, expressly declare it to be an esta 
blished doctrine ? 

When Juvenal speaks of the impiety of Rome, 
with regard to this religious opinion, he exhorts 
the sober part of them to adhere to it, in these 

ivords : 



Sed tu vera puta. Curius quid sentit, ambo 

Scipiadae ? quid Fabricius manesque Camiili ? 

- - - quoties hinc tails ad illos 

Umbra venit ? cuperent lustrari, si qua darentuf 

Sulphura cum tredis, et si foret hurnida laurus. 

Illuc, heu ! Miseri traducimur - - - - 

Those who understand these lines can never doubt 

whether a future State was the established doctrine. 

in Rome. Yet, stranger than all this, the very 

learned Mosheim, in his dc rebus Christ. Comment. 

p. 15. speaking of this licentious part of Caesar s 

speech, seems to copy Mr, Moyle s opinion (whose 

Works he had translated) in these words " Ita 

" magni hi Homines et Romanae civitatis principes 

" nunquam ausi fuissent loqui, in Concilio Patrum 

" conscriptorum si Rellgio credere jus sisset^ mentes 

" hominum perennes esse." By his, si Religio 

credere jussisset, he must mean if this had been the 

established Doctrine He could not mean had the 

Pagan Religion in general enjoined it to be believed 

For there was no national Religion of Paganism 

without it. But the reason he gives for his opinion 

exceeds all belief. He says, " Cato is so far from 

blaming Caesar for this declaration, that he rather 

openly applauds it" " Qiiam Orationem M. FOR- 

" TIUS CATO, illud Stoicae Families praaesidium et 

decus, tantum abest, ut reprehendat, ut potius 

" publice pariter in Senatu laudat" What are 

these terms of praise? " Sic enim BENE ET 


" COMPOSITE, inquit, Ca&ar paulo ante in hoc 
" Or dine de vita 8$ morte disseruit : falsa, credo, 
" existimam qua de wfcris mernoranlur" Surely 
this bene 8$ composite disseruit, was so far from being 
intended by the rigid Stoic as a compliment on his 
capital Adversary, that it was a severe censure, im 
plying, in every term made use of, that Caesar s 
opinion was no crude or hasty sentiment, taken up, 
as an occasional topic, out of an ill-judged com 
passion for the Criminals, but that it was the System 
of his School in this matter, deliberately dressed 
out with all the charms of his own eloquence, in a 
studied and correct dissertation, 

P. 50. [K] A cad. Quast. 1. iv.The learned 
Mosheim has done me the honour of abridging my 
reasoning on this head in the following manner- 
Academid, meliores licet & sapientiores Sceptids 
mdcrl yellcnt, aeque tamen mali et perniciosi erant 
Id ipsum enim dogma, in quo vis & ratio discipline 
Sceptics posita erat, probabant " Nihil cognosci, 
" nihil percipi, iiihil sciri posse, et de omnibus 
" idcirco rebus, nullo interposito judicio, dispu- 
" tandum esse." Hoc unum inter utrosque inte- 
rerat, quod cum Sceptici statuerent, nulli rei 
ad sentiendum, sed perpetuo disputandum esse. * 
Academici e contrario sciscerent a in illis, qune veri 
" speciem haberent seu probabilia viderentur, ac- 
" quiescendum esse." Atqui hoc ipsum PROBABILE 
cui sapientem adsentiri volebant Academic*, xuw r 



QUAM ILLI REPERIEBANT. Quare non secus ac 
Sceptic! infirmare oninia & incerta reddere studebant. 
Id vero qui agunt, ut dubium prorsus et anceps 
vidcntur Utruni Anlmi moriantur an supersint, 
&c. De rebus Christ, comment, p. 22. 

P. 50. [L] Tiie reader may not be displeased to 

see the judgment of a learned French writer on the 

account here given of the Academics I/on fait 

voir que Ton doit exclure de ce nombre [des sectes 

dogmatistes] les nouveaux Academiciens, purs 

sceptiques, quoy qu il y ait quelques auteurs 

modernes qui pretendent le contraire, et entre 

autres M. Middleton, auteur de la nouvelle Vie du 

Ciceron Anglois. Mais si Ton examine la source 

ou il a puise ses sentimens, Ton trouvera que c est 

dans les apologies que les Academiciens eux memes 

ont faites pour cachcr le scepticisme qui leur etoit 

reproche par toutes les autres sectes ; et de cette 

maniere on pourroit soutenir que les Pyrrhoniens 

mernes n etoient point sceptiques. Qu on se ressou- 

vienne seulement que, suivant le raport de Ciceron, 

Arcesilaus, fondateur de la nouvelle Academic, 

nioit que Ton fut certain de sa propre existence. 

Apres un trait semblabie, et plusieurs autres qui 

sont raportes on laisse an lecteur a decider da 

caractere de cette secte et du jugement qu en porte 

M. Middleton. M. De S. Diss. sur I Union de la 

Religion, de la Morale, et de la Politique, Pref. 

p, 12. 

P. 54. 

P. 54. [M] Tully assures us that those of the 
Old Academy were Dogmatists, Qucest. Acad. lib. i. 
illam VETEREM differebat ; for that the Peripatetics 
were dogmatists nobody ever doubted. Yet the 
same Tully, towards the conclusion of this book, 
ranks them with the sceptics : Ilanc Academiam 
NOVAM appellabant, qiue mihi VETUS videtur; 
for such certainly was the New Academy. The way 
of reconciling Cicero to himself I take to be this : 
Where he speaks of the conformity between the 
Peripatetics and the Old Academy, lie considers 
Plato as the founder of the Old Academy : this 
appears from the following words, Academ. 1. ii. a 5. 
Alter [nempe Plato] quia reliquit perfectissimam 
disciplinam, Peripateticos et Academicos, nominibus 
diflerentes, re congruentes : And where he speaks 
of the conformity between the New .Academy and 
the Old, he considers Socrates as the founder of the 
Old Academy. For the New, as we here see, claimed 
the nearest relation to their master. , Thus DC Nat. 
Dcor. 1. i. e, 5. he says, Ut base in phiiosophia 
ratio contra omnia disserencli, nullarnque rein aperte 
judicandi, profecta a Socrate, repettta ab Arccsilao, 
jconfirmata a Carncade, &c. But Tully, it may be 
said, in the very place where he speaks of the agree 
ment between the New and Old Academy, under 
stands Plato as the founder of the old; Hanc 
Academiarn novam appellant ; -quas mihi vetus 
videtur, si quidern Platomm ex ilk vetere nume- 

ramus ; 


ramus : cujus in libris nihil ^dfirmatur, et in 
utramque partem inulta disseruntur ; de omnibus 
quseritur, nihil certi dicitur. But it is to be observed, 
that Plato had a twofold character : and is to be 
considered, on the one hand, as the Disciple and 
Historian of Socrates ; and on the other, as the 
Head of a Sect himself] and master of Xenocrates 
and Aristotle. As the disciple, he affirms nothing ; 
as the master, he is a Dogmatist. Under the first 
character, Socrates and he are the same ; under the 
second, they are very different. Tully here speaks 
of him under thejfirst, as appears from what he says 
of him, nihil adfirmatur, < c. Plato, in this place, 
therefore, is the same as Socrates. The not dis 
tinguishing his double character hath occasioned 
much dispute amongst the Ancients ; as the not 
observing that Cicero hath, throughout his writings, 

O 7 o o * 

made that distinction, hath much embarrassed the 
moderns. Diogenes Laertius tells us, there were 
infinite disputes about Plato s character ; some 
holding that he did dogmatize, others that he did 

not. ETTEJ $1 7zroAA>i ?ot<ri$ r, xfct ol /XEZ/ Qctciv aurci/ 

aJpa1/fw, ol F a. Lib. iii. Seg. 51. Sevtus Empiricus 
says the same thing : rov nxarum w, ol plv fofyotlixov 
ol $1 ocTropTipalixw. He then tells you, 

some distinguished better : Kola $1 T dofyoflixn. lv 
ftgj/ yap 

ov JE, cvOa 


JITOV <^ SwstpdPTSf, ri Tifidk&s, % Ttv(& ruv roizruv. That 
Cicero made the distinction, delivered above, we 
shall now see. In the Academic Questions, he 
speaks of him as the disciple and historian of 
Socrates; and, under that character, nihil adfirmatur, 
& in utramque partem multa disseruntur, de omnibus 
qtiaeritur, nihil certi dicitur. In his Offices he speaks 
of him as different from Socrates, and - ihefoimckr 
of a sect : and then he is a Dogmatist, and r -as he 
says elsewhere, rcliquit perfectissiraam disciplinam 
Peripateticos et Academicos nominibus differentes, 
re congruentes. His words to his son are: Sed 
tamen nostra [nempe Academica] leges non multum 
a Peripateticis dissidentia, quoniam utrique et SQ- 
cratici et Platonici esse volurnus ; i. e. He tells his 
son, that he would both dogmiLtJzeJike Plato, and 
scepticize like Socrates. But Gnevius, not appre 
hending this double character of Plato, would 
Change Socratici to Stoici. For, says he, qui dicere 
potest se utrumque esse voluisse Platonicum et 
Socraticum ; perinde est ac si scripsisset utrumque 
se velle esse Pcripateticum et Aristoteleum. But 
there was a vast difference between Plato, founder 
of the Academy, and Socrates ; though none betwee-n 
Plato the disciple and historian of Socrates., and \ 
Socrates. The fortune of this note has been very 
singular ; and will afford us a pleasant picture of 
the temper and genius of Answerers and their ways, 
One man writing something about Plato and the 
ancients ; and reading what is here said of Plato s 
VOL. Ill, B B dogmatizing, 


dogmatizing, abuses the author for making him a 
dogmatist : And another who had to do, I do not 
know how, with Socrates and the moderns, and 
reading what relates to Plato s scepticizing, is a& 
plentiful, in his ribaldry and ill language, for making 
him a .sceptic : while the author was, all the time, 
giving an historical relation of what others made 
him; and only endeavoured to reconcile their various 

P. Go. [NJ Tusc. Disp. 1. i. c. 1 6. Honorc re 
fers to his philosophic character ; and aitctoritate 
to his legislative. The common reading is, cum 
honore et discipline, turn etiam auctoritate. Dr. B. 
in iiis emendations on the Tusc. Quaest. saw this 
was faulty ; but not reflecting on the complicated 
ciiaracter of Pythagoras, and perhaps not attending 
to Cicero s purpose (which was, not to speak of the 
nature of his philosophy, but of the reputation he 
had in Magna Gritcia) lie seems not to have hit 
upon the true reading. lie objects to Honore, 
because the particles cam and turn require a greater 
difference in the tilings spoken of, than is to be 
found in honos and auctoritas : which reasoning 
would have been just, had only a philosophic cha 
racter, or only a legislative, been the subject. But 
it was Cicero s plain meaning, to present Pythagoras 
under both these views. So that honos, which is the 
proper consequence of succeeding in the first ; and 
auctoritas t oi succeeding in the latter; have all the 



real difference that cum and turn require ; at least 
Plutarch thought so, when he applied words of the 
very same import to the Egyptian soldiery and the 
priesthood; to whom, like the legislator and phi 
losopher, the one having power and the other rm- 
do?n, auctoritas and honos distinctly belong : T 

p\v $S &)ffyiv 9 ta <T JW fl-of/Oi/, [twas AEIfiMA y.y,\ 

TIMHN f^ci/1*. De Isid. & Osir. Another ob 
jection, the learned critic brings against the common 
reading, has more weight; which is, that in honor e 
et discipima, two words are joined together as very 
similar in sense, which have scarce any affinity or 
relation to one another : on which account he would 
read MORE et disciplina. But this, as appears from 
what has been said above, renders the whole sentence 
lame and imperfect : I would venture therefore to 
read, (only changing a single letter) tenuit Magnam 
illatn Grocciam cum honore EX diseiplina, turn 
etiam auctoritate : and then all will be right, dis- 
ciplina referring equally to honore and auctoritate, 
as implying both his philosophic and civil jnsti- 

P. 65. [O] Demonstratio Evangdica ; which, 
because the World would not accept for demonstra 
tion, and because he had no better to give, after a 
long and vain search for certainty throughout all 
the Regions of Erudition, he attempted, by the 
help of Sextus Empiricus, in order to keep himself 
in credit, to shew that no such thing was to be had. 
B B 2 And 

And so composed his Book of the, Weakness of 
human understanding. Malebranch has laid open 
his ridiculous case with great force and skill " II 
est vrai qu il y en a quelques-uns qui rcconnoissent 
apres vingt ou tretitc annees clc temps perdu, qu ils 
n ont rien appris dans leurs lectures; niais il nc 
leur plait pas dc nous le dire avec sincerite. II faut 
auparavant qu ils avcnt prouve, a leur mode, qu*tft 
TIC pc iff rien sarcoir; ct puis apres ils le confessent; 
parce qu alors ils croycnt le pouvoir faire, sans 
qu ori se mocque de leur ignorance." 

P. 87. [P] Gcddes, or his Glasgow editors, (to 
mention them for once) in the essay on the composi 
tion of the ancients, are here very angry at the 
author for charging Plato with making a monstrous 
mis-alliance, merely (as they say) because he added 
the study of physics to that of morals ; and employ 
six pages in defending Plato s conduct. As these 
insolent scribblers could not see then, so possibly 
they will not be ready to learn now, that the term 
of monstrous mis-alliance, which I gave to Plato s 
project, of incorporating the Pythagaric and 50- 
cratic Schools, referred to the opposite and con 
trary geniuses of those Schools in their MANNER 
of treating their Subjects, not to any difference 
which there is in their Subjects themselves. The 
mis-alliance was not in joining Physics to Morals ; 
but in joining a Fanatic Mysticism to the cool logic 
of common sense. 

P. 98. 

p. gg. [Q] The unfairness of readers when their 
passions have made them become writers, is hardly 
to be conceived : some of these have represented 
the three last testimonies as given to prove that. 
Plato believed no future state at all : though the 
author had plainly and expressly declared, but a 
page or two before, p. 95, as well as at p. 15, that 
there was a sort of future state which Plato did 
believe ; he refers to it again at p. 97, and, what is 
more, observes here, on this last passage, that 
Celsus alludes to this very future state of Plato. 
And what was it but this, that future happiness 
and misery were the natural and* necessary conse 
quences of Virtue and Vice ; Vice being supposed 
to produce that imbecility and sluggishness which 
clogged and retarded the Soul, and hindered it from 
penetrating into the higher regions. 

P. 102. [R] This will explain the cause of a 
fact which Cicero observes concerning them, where 
he speaks of the liberty which the Greek Philo 
sophers had taken, in inventing new Words- 
omnibus Philosophis STOICI plurima novaverunt" 
de Fin. 1. ii. c. 2. For the more a Teacher deviates 
from common notions, and the discipline of Nature, 
the less able he will be to express himself by Words 
already in use - 

P. 106. [S] This strange Stoical fancy, that the 

game Scenes of men and things should revive and 

B B 3 re -appear, 


re-appear, can be only well accounted for by the 
credit they gave to the dotages of Judicial Astrology, 
to which their doctrine of Fate much disposed them. 
This renovation was to happen in the GREAT PLA 
TONIC YEAR, when all the heavenly Bodies were 
supposed to begin their courses anew, from the 
same points from which they first set out at their 
Creation. So Ausonius, 

CopsumptQ Magnus qui dicitur anno. 
Rursus in antiquum venient vaga sidera cursum, 
Qualia dispositi steterant ab Origine Mundi." 

P. 108. [T] Cicero makes the famous orator, 
M. Antonius, give this as the reason why he hid his 
knowledge of the Greek Philosophy from the People. 
-Sic decrevi [inquit Antonius] philosophari potius, 
ut Neoptolemus apud Enniurn, panels : nam omnim 
hand placet. Scd tamen hxc est mea sententia, 
quain videbar exposuissc. Ego ista studia non 
improbo, moderata modo sint : opinionem istorum 
studiorum, & suspicionem artificii apud eos ; qui res 
judicent, oratori adversariam esse arbitror. Im- 
minuit cniin & oratoris auctoritatem & orationis 
fidcm. De Orat. 1. ii. c. 1 7. 

P. 109. [LI] Orat. pro Muraena. It must be 
owned, that these words, at first sight, seem to have 
a different meaning. And the dlsputandi causa 
looks as if the observation was confined to Stoi 
cism. For this Sect had so entirely engrossed the 



Dialectics, that the followers of Zeno were more 
frequently called Dlalectid than Stold. Notwith 
standing this, it plainly appears, I think, from the 
context, that the other sense is the true. Tully 
introduces his observation on Cato s singularity in 
these words : tt qitoniam non est noils htfc oratio 
habtnda ant cum imperita multltudlne, aut in aliyuo 
convcntu agrestiwn, audadus paulo de studiis hu- 
manitatis, qua $ rnihi 8s wbis not a Qjucunda swi, 
dlsputabo. Here he declares, liis design is not to 
give his thoughts of the Stoics in particular, (though 
they furnished the occasion) hut of the Greek phi 
losophy in general, de studiis humaniwis. He then 
runs through the Stoical paradoxes, and concludes 

Haec homo ingenlosmltnus M. C. arrlpuit, 8$c. 

But had it been his intention to confine the obser 
vation to the Stoics, on account of their great name 
in Logic, he must have said hanc, not htec : it being 
their logic, not their paradoxes, which was of use 
in disputation. 

P. 114. [X] Lucullus had been declaiming very 
tragically against the Academy, when Tully entered 
on it s defence ; in which he thought it proper to 
premise something concerning himself. Aggrediar 
i<ntur, (says he) si pauca ante, quasi de FAMA MEA 
dixero. He then declares, that, had he embraced 
the Academy out of vanity, or love of contradic 
tion, it had not only reflected on his sense, but on 
his honour : Itaque nisi ineptum putarem in tali 
B B 4 disputatione 

disputatione id facere, quod cum ele republica dis- 
oeptatur fieri interdum solct : jurarem per Jovcin, 
$c. From hence, I gather that though the ques 
tion here be of the Academic philosophy, and of 
Cicero as an Academic; yet, as he tells us, he is 
now to vindicate himself in a point in which his 
honour was concerned ; the protestation is general, 
and concerns his constant turn of mind ; which 
always inclined him, he says, to speak his sentiments. 

P. 120. [Y] The learned Author of the exact 
and elegant History of Cicero, hath since turned 
this circumstance to the support of the contrary opi 
nion, with regard to his Hero s sentiments : " But 
f some (says he) have been apt to consider them 
[/. e. the passages in Tully s philosophic writings 
in favour of a futui ^state] as the flourishes rather 

* of his eloquence than the conclusions of his 

* reason. Since in other parts of his works he 
seems to intimate, not only a diffidence,- but a 
disbelief of the immortality of the soul, and a 
future state of rewards and punishments, and 
especially in his letters, where he is supposed to 
declare his mind with the greatest frankness. 

But in a melancholy hour, when the spirits are 
f - depressed, the same argument would not appear- 
to him with the same force, but doubts and 
4 difficulties get the ascendant, and what humoured 
his present chagrin find the readiest admission. 
The passages alleged [i e. in this place of The 

" Divine 


^ Divine Legation ] were all of this kind, written in 
" the season of his dejection, when all things were 
" goini* wrong with him, and in the height of Caesar s 
" power, 4 6 - vol. ii. p.-^Gi.ed. 4- Thus, every 
tiling hath two Academical handles. But still, my 
candid friend. will allow me to say they cannot both 
be right. It is confessed, that a desponding temper, 
like that of Cicero, will, in a melancholy hour, be 
always inclined to fearthe worst. But to what are 
its fears confined ? Without . doubt to the issue of 
that very affair, for which, we are distressed. A 
melancholy hour would have just the contrary in 
fluence on our other cogitations. And this by the wise 
and gracious disposition of Nature ; that the mind 
may endeavour to make up by an abundance, of hope 
in one quarter, what through the persuasion of its 
fears, it hath suffered itself -to part from, in another. 
So .that unless Cicero were made differently from all 
other men, one might venture to . say, his hopes of 
future good (had Philosophy permitted him to entcr- 
tain.any hopes at all) would have risen in proportion 
to his fears of the present. And this is seen every 
day in fact. Foe it is nothing but this natural dis 
position; that makes men of the world so generally 
fly even to Superstition for the solace of their mis 
fortunes. But the excellent author of the Critical 
Inquiry, into the. Opinions of the Ancient Philo 
sophers goes further. " Cictro (says he) very 
" frankly declares in his Tuseulans themselves that 
* this [the mortality or the no separate existence 

" of 

* of the soul] was the most real and effectual, the 
* most solid and substantial comfort that could be 
<c administered against the fear of death. In his 
" first Tusculan, he undertakes to prove, that death 
< was not an evil ; and this 1st, Because it was not 
* attended with any actual punishment, or positive 
" and real misery. 2^/j/, He rises higher, and 
" labours to prove, that men ought to look upon 
" death as a blessing rather than an evil, as the 
" soul, after its departure from the body, might be 
<$ happy in another life. In the first part he sup- 
<( poses the mortality and extinction of the soul at 
" death ; in the second he plainly supposes, that it 
" will survive the body. Now the question is, on 
" which doctrine does he lay most stress ; or, which 
v{ of these two notions, in the opinion of Cicero, 
" would serve best to fortify and prepare men against 
* the fear of death? And luckily Cicero himself 
" has long since determined this point for us j having 
" in the first Tusculan brought several reasons to 
u prove the immortality of the soul, he after all 
ft very frankly declares, that they had no great 
" validity and force ; that the most solid and sub- 
" stantial argument, which could be urged against 
fct the fear of death, was the very consideration adr 
" vanccd in his letters, or the doctrine which makes 
" it the utter period of our being : And in the 
* k remaining part of the book he proceeds to argue 
" chiefly on this supposition, as being the best cal- 
" dilated to support men against the fear and terror 



" of death. The arguments which he urged to 

<{ prove the immortality of the soul, seem sometimes 

" to have had great weight with the person, to whom 

they were immediately addressed ; he declares 

" himself fond of the opinion, and resolves not to 

* c part with it. Nemo me de immortalitate depellet. 

e To this Cicero replies, laudo id quidem ; etsi nihil 

<e nirnis, oportet confidjre : movemur enim ssepe 

" aliquo acute concluso : labamus mutamusque 

sententiam clarioribus etiain in rebus ; in his est 

" enim aliqua obscuritas. Id igitur si accident, 

f simus armati, c. 32. lie does not seem to lay 

" any great stress on the notion of a juture state ; 

nihil oportet nirnis confidere. He owns that the 

" arguments, alleged in support of it, were rather 

specious than solid : movemur enim saspe aliquo 

" acute concluso. That they were not plain and 

* clear enough to make any strong and lasting 5m- 

( pression : Labamus mutamusque sententiam cla- 

" rioribus etiam in his rebus ; in his est enim aliqua 

" obseuritas. That therefore the best remedy at 

all events, would be the notion that the soul dies 

" with the body; id igitur si accident, simus arnmiL 

" Having then explained what he had to say on the 

immortality of the soul, he proceeds to shew, that 

; death could not be considered as an evil, on the 

supposition that the soul was to perish with the 

" body. 

" When therefore he would teach men to contemn 
(i the terrors of death, he grounds his Vnain argument 
* on the mortality of the souJ. As to the notion 

" of 


" of a future state, it was maintained by arguments 
" too subtile to work a real and lasting conviction ; 
" it was not thought clear enough to make any deep 
" and strong impression. He has therefore recourse 
" to the extinction of the soul, as the most com- 
<l fortable consideration that could be employed 
* against the fear of death. This was not then a 
" topic that was peculiar to the season of dejection 
" and distress ; it was not thrown out only acci- 
u dentally, when he was not considering the subject, 
" but was used in the works that were deliberately 
<; and professedly written on this very point. It 
4i could not therefore be occasional only, and suited 
* c to the present circumstances, as Dr. Middleton 
" in his reasoning all along supposes/ 

P. 142. [Z] Dion Cassius tells us, that in the 
Year of Rome 689 the Government consulted, what 
the Historian calls, the Augury of safety ; a sort 
of divination to learn, if the Gods received in good 
part the Prayers for the Safety of the People. This 
ceremony was only to be performed in that year, 
during the course of which, no Allies of Rome had 
defected from her, no Armies had appeared in the 
field, and no Battle had been fought. A ceremony 
which plainly arose from the ancient notion of an 
circious Demon, then most to be dreaded when the 
felicity of States or of private men was at its height. 

P. 151. [AA] Tusc. Disp. 1. v. c. 13. The words, 
#i hoc fas est diclu, had been omitted by accident, 


in my quotation. --But Anwcrcrs saw a mystery in 
this omission, which co-.ild be nothing but m^ 
consciousness that the omitted words made against 
me. They are now inserted to shew that they make 
intirely for me; and that Cicero used the word 
decerptm in the literal sense ; for, if only in * figu 
rative, he had no occasion to soften it with a saka 

P. 1.^2. [BB] It properly signifies what hath 
neither beginning nor end ; though frequently used 
in the improper sense of having no end. And indeed 
we may observe in most of the Latin writers, an 
unphilosophic licence in the use of mlved modes by 
substituting one for another : The providing against 
the ill effects of this abuse, to which these sort of 
words are chiefly liable, gave the ancient Roman 
lawyers great trouble ; as appears from what one ot 
them observes, " Jurisconsultorum summus circa 
" verborum PROPRIETATEM labor est." Hence 
the Composers of the Justinian Digest found a 
necessity of having one whole book of their Pan 
dects employed de verborum signijicatione. The 
abuse arose, in a good measure, from their not 
being early broken and inured to abstract reasoning : 
It is certain at least, that the Greeks, who were 
eminent -for speculation, are infinitely more exact in 
their use of mired modes : not but something must 
be allowed for the superior abundance of the Greek 

p. i 5 c. 


P. 156. [CCj It hath been objected to me, that 
this doctrine of the refusion of the ^oul was very 
consistent with the belief of a future state of 
rewards and punishments, in the intermediate space 
between death and the resolution of the soul into 
the TO EV. But these Objectors forgot that it had been 
shewn, that those Philosophers who held the refu 
sion not to be immediate, believed the soul to be 
confined to a successive course of transmigrations 
entirely physical. So that there was no more room 
for a moral state of reward and punishment here 
after, than if the resolution had been immediate, 

P. 171. [DD] Au /U* iKotrn <fcWj*i? AAOFOS 
*? rr,v O AI/ w T vwlof. But the elder Platonists 
talked another language : if Virgil may be allowed 
to know what they said : 

Esse apibtis partern divinae mentis, & haustus 
JEtherios dixere. Deum namque ire per omnes, 

P. 1 71 . [EE] But they were not content to speak 
a language different from their .Master. They would, 
sometimes, make him speak theirs. So Hierocles 
tcljs us, Plato said, that " When God made the 
" visible world, he had no occasion for pre-existent 
." matter to work upon. His will was sufficient to 
* bring all creatures into being/ J Af^sTv yp Jry 
*.Jf U7ror<rty TWJ/ tfltw TO clxziov j3aAy^a. DefatO & 
prov. ap. Phot. But where Plato said this we are 
yet to learn. 


Terrasque, tractusque maris, coelumque profundum, 
Hinc pecudes, armenta, VIROS, genus omne ferarum, 
Quemque sibi tenues nascentem arcessere vitas. 
Scilicet hue reddi deinde, ac RESOLUTA referri 

Omnia. Georg. iv. 222. 

But now what, temptation could the later Platonists 
have to make this alteration in favour of Paganism, 
if their master and his first followers called the 
human soul a part of God only in a loose meta 
phorical sense ? for such a sense could have re 
flected no disgrace upon their systems. 

A passage of Plutarch will shew us the whole 
change and alteration of this system in one view ; 
where speaking of the opinions of the philosophers, 
he says, " PYTHAGORAS and PLATO held the Soul 
" to be immortal ; for that lanching out into the 
" Soul of the universe, it returns to its Parent and 
" original. The Stoics say, that on its leaving the 
" body the more infirm (that is, the Soul of the 
" ignorant) suffers the lot of the body : But the 
" more vigorous (that is, the Soul of the wise) 
" endures to the conflagration. Democritus and 
" Epicurus say, the Soul is mortal, and perishes 
" with the body: PYTHAGORAS and PLATO, that 
" the reasonable soul is immortal (for that the Soul 
" is not God, but the workmanship of the eternal 
" God) and that the irrational is mortal." nv8ayo />af, 

pOaflo* sftai TH\ ^W" Ifyiiffav yap ? TO 
xj/vp^v ftvpfiTv ET^? TO o/*tyHftl O* 
ifysrow TUV (Tioaarwi/ viroQsgtreQoti rr.v /XEV VSf- 


ryv 1 iVp^oporspav, oi In 

TO ]t*v Aoyixov, aipOaploi/ ^xat yao rnv 
gpyov ra a^ta 3~fa uTrapveiy) TO J"g 

There is something very observable in this pas 
sage. He gives the opinions of the several Philoso 
phers concerning the Soul. He-begins with Pytha 
goras and Plato ; goes on to the Stoics, Democritus 
and Epicurus ; and then returns back to Pythagoras 
and Plato again. This seems -to be irregular enough ; 
but this is not the worst. His account of the Pytha 
gorean and Platonic doctrine concerning the Soul, 
with which he sets out, contradicts that with which 
lie -concludes. For, the touching out into tlte soul 
of the universe, which is hisjirst account, implies, 
and is, the language of those who say, that the Soul 
was part of the substance of God; whereas his 
secojid account expressly declares that the Soul was 
npt God, that is, part of God, but only his zcork- 
mansJiip. Let me observe too, that what he says 
fmther, in this second account, of the rational Soul s 
being immortal, and the irrational, mortal, con 
tradicts what he in another place of the same tract, 
quoted above, tells us, was the doctrine of Pytha 
goras and Plato concerning the soul; namely, that 
the humaii and brutal, the rational and irrational, 
were of the same nature, 



a ur t v Aoyixc?? lj/fpy(raj 
pixTM. How is all this to be accounted for? Very 
easily. This tract of the placitsofthe Philosophers 
was an extract from the author s common-place: 
in which, doubtless, were large collections from the 
Pythagoreans and Platonists, both before and after 
Christ. It is plain then, that in the passage in 
question he begins with those who went before:, 
and ends with those who came after. And it was 
the language .of those after, to call the human soul, 
not (like their predecessors) a part of God, but his 
workmanship : so Plotinus, who came still later, 
tells us, that the soul is from God, and yet has a 
different existence : It was in their language, to call 
the brutal soul mortal : and so afterwards Porphyry, 
we find, says, every irrational power is resolved into 
the life of the whole : for, this resolution or Av<n$- 
was qualified with the title of a^< 55 / 5(n fl s r $&>?& 
indifferently, as -they were disposed to hide or to 
reveal its real nature. While they held all souls 
subject to this resolution, they would, of course. 
keep it amongst their SECRETS, and call it m mor 
tality. When they began to nmke a distinction, and 
only subjected the irrational soul to this resolutim, 
as in the passage of Porphyry, then they would 
call it mortality, as in the passage of Plutarch : a 
passage though hitherto esteemed an indigested heap 
of absurdity and contradiction, is now, we presume,. 
.reasonably well explained an<i reconciled to itself. 
VOL. Ill, C c P. 178. 


P. 178. [FF] It is remarkable that Democritus 
the Master of Epicurus gave but two qualities to 
MATTER,J$g7/re and bulk, i. e. extension. His dis 
ciple gave three, by adding GRAVITY. This qua 
lity was as sensible as the other two. What shall 
we say ? That Democritus penetrated so far into 
MATTER, as to see that GRAVITY did not essentially 
belong unto it, but was a quality superinduced upon 
it. Certain it is, wLat Dr. Clarke conjectures, in his 
dispute with Leibnitz, that Epicurus s Philosophy 
icas a corrupt and atheistical perversion- of some 
more ancient, and perhaps better Philosophy. 

P. 192. [GG] But this has been the humour of 
the zealous Partisans of a favourite Cause, in all 
Ages. Honest ANTHONY WOOD, recommending 
a MS. of a brother Antiquary, one Henry Lyte, 
intitled, Conjectural Notes touching the Original of 
the University of Oxon and also of Britain, observes 
with great complacency " In this are many pretty 
"fancies, which may be of SOME USE, as occasion 
" shall serve, by way of reply for Oxon^ against the 
" far-f etched ant iqidtiesQi Cambridge." A dispute 
had arisen between these two famous Universities, 
not concerning the superior Excellence of the one or 
other Institution ; but of the superior Antiquity only. 
In a contention of the first kind, the Disputants 
would have had some need of Truth ; all that was 
wanted in the latter, was well-invented Fable. 
Wisely therefore did our reverend Antiquary recom 


mend to the Managers of this important question, 
the PRETTY FANCIES of this Oxford Champion; 
to oppose to the pretty fancies of the Jar-fetched 
Antiquities of the Cambridge Atiiiet. 

P. 212. [IIII] As what is here said relates en 
tirely to the revolutions in the state of Religion here 
at home, strangers will not be able to see the force 
of it, without some further account of this matter. 
the doctrine of the Redemption of Mankind by the 
death and sacrifice of Christ, was the great Gospel- 
Principle on which PROTESTANTISM was founded, 
when the Churches of the North-West of Europe 
first shook off the Yoke of ROME : By some perhaps 
pushed too far, in their abhorrence of the Popish 
doctrine of MERIT ; the Puritan schism amongst 
us being made on the panic fancy that the Church 
of England had not receded far enough from Rome. 
However, Justification by Faith alone being a 
Gospel- Doctrine, it was received as the badge of 
true Protestantism, by all; when the PURITANS 
(first driven by persecution from religious into civil 
Faction, and thoroughly heated into Enthusiasm by 
each Faction, in its turn) carried the Doctrine to a 
dangerous and impure Antinomianlsm. This fanatic 
notion soon after produced the practical virtues of 
these modern Saints. The mischiefs which ensued 
are well known. And no small share of them has 
been ascribed, to this impious abuse of the doctrine 
c c 2 of 


<>f Justification by faith alone ; first by depredating 
MORALITY, and then by dispensing with it 

When the Constitution was restored, and toad 
brought into credit those few learned Divines whoiti 
the madness of the preceding times had driven into 
obscurity, the Church of England, still smarting with 
the wotmds it had received from the Abuse of the 
great Uospel-pYiiicipl e of FAITII, very widely labour 
ed to Restore ^fouALitr, tire -other essential part 
of ttYe ChHstfati System, to its Rights, in the joint 
direction of the Faithful. Hence, the encourage 
merit, the Church gave to those noble discourses 
w hich did such credit to Religion, in the licentious 
thn es of Charles the Second, composed by these 
learned and pious men, abused by the Zealots with. 
tlh e nickname LA T i T u D i N A R i A N Divines. The re 
putation they acquired by so thoroughly weeding out 
the&e rank remains of Fanaticism, made their Suc 
cessors fond of sharing with them in trhe same 
labours. A laudable ambition ! but, too often mixed 
with a vain passion for improving upon those who 
have gone, successfully, before. The Church was 
now triumphant. The Sectaries were humbled ; 
sometimes oppressed ; always regarded with an eye 
of jealousy and aversion ; till at length this Gospel- 
principle of Faith carne to be esteemed by those who 
should have known better, as wild and fanatical. 
While they who owned its divine Original found so 
much difficulty in adjusting the distinct Rights and 
Prerogatives of FAITH and MORALITY, that by the 

time this Century was ready to commence, tilings 
were come to such a pass (Morality was advanced 
so high, and Faith so depressed and incumhered 
with trifling or unintelligible explanations) that a new 
definition of our holy Religion, in opposition to 
what its Founder taught, and unknown to its early 
Followers, was all in fashion ; under the title of a 
RepiMlcation of the -Religion of Nature : natural 
Religion, it seems, (as well as Christianity) teaching 
the doctrine of life and immortality. So says a very 
eminent Prelate*. And the GOSPEL, which till now 
had been understood as but coeval with REDEMP 
TION, was henceforth to be acknowledged, as old as 
the Creation. 

R 218. [II] How expedient it was to give this 
detailed proof of the coincidence of truth and gene 
ral utility, may be seen by the strange embarras 
which perplexes that ingenious Sceptic, Rousseau 
of Geneva, when he treats of this subject. c Je 
vois (says he, in his Letter to the Archbishop of 
Paris) deux manieres d examiner & comparer les 
Religions diverses, i ue selon le vrai $ lefanx, qui 
s y trouvent 1 autre selon leurs effete tempQrets fy 
moraux sur la terre, selon le bien ou le mal qu elles 
peuvent faire a la Societe et au gendre humain. II 
- ne faut pas, pour cmpecher oe double examen, com- 
inencer par decider quc ces deuxchoses vo?it toujours 

* Sheriock s Sermons, Vol. I. Serm. 6. 

c c ensemble^ 


ensemble, et que la Religion la plus vraye est ausi 
la plus sociable. But then again he says, II paroit 
pourtant certain, je 1 avoue, que si 1 homme est 
fait pour la Societe, la Religion la plus vraye est 
ausi la plus sociale & la plus humaine. Yet for all 
this he concludes Mais ce sentiment, tout probable 
qu il est, est sujet a de grandes difficulties par 
1 historique et les faits qui le contrarient.* p. 71,2. 
But Antiquity, which had intangled itself in this 
question, apparently drew him, in. The Sages of 
old saw clearly that Utility and Virtue perfectly 
coincided. They thought Utility and Truth did 
not: as conceiving the constitution of things to be 
so framed, that falsehood (as it was circumstanced) 
might at one time be of general benefit, just as 
Truth is at another. 

P. 2 19. [KK] 



Or xJlv a 
OUT u xoAac-^ua rug xomug ty wt\o. 


a^ IW Ax?j 

fj.i/ o 

xai 0-090? yvupr.v 


o$ Svyldiffiv I fcvpuv, o 

Ei n T; &~/*a TCI? xaxoiV*, xai> 

/, 3 AsWiv, S <poi/w<r/ T* 

Now T axawv, x* jXcwv (ppoi/wv TE, 
npoo-^i T Taura, xal (puVti/ S-fi^v 
A<p 2) 

j? T* j3aAun? xocxov, 
3"sV TO a 

raff "s 
. Ta<rc5 ra? Aoygff auro?? Xe ywv 

r xaAu 4/ap T^V aAiJdfiiai/ Aoyw 
s pao-xe TH 



a Tfi? 

Ex T?? usOf Ta-tgupogixs, t 
J ftJ a x? 


O, 3- Jy^of *f y^ 
Toix<r$e Ts-igisrvHrsv w 
At a? xi*Aw? T TW Aoyw 

OUTW ^6 -nrwTov oo/xt 

v mi yiv<&. 

c c 4 There 

There are many variations in the reading of this 
fragment; and I have every where chosen that 
which appeared to me the right. That Critias was 
the author, how much soever the critics seem in 
clined to favour the claim of Euripides, I make no 
scruple to assert. The difficulty lies here : Sextus 
Empiricus expressly gives it to Critias ; and yet 
Plutarch is still more express for Euripides ; names 
the Play it belonged to ; and adds this farther cir 
cumstance, that the poet chose to broach his impiety 
under the character of Sisyphus, in order to keep 
clear of the Laws. Thus two of the most knowing 
writers of Antiquity are supposed irreconcilable in 
a plain matter of fact. M. Petit, who has examined 
the matter at large [Observ. Miscell. 1. i. c. i.], 
declares for the authority of Plutarch. And M. 
Bayle has fully shewn the weakness of his reasoning 
in support of Plutarch s claim. [Grit. Diet. Art. 
CHITIAS, Rem. II.]. Pctit s System is to this effect, 
that there is an hiatus in the text of Sextus : That 
a Copyist, from whom all the existent MSS. are 
derived, when he came to Critias, unwarily jumped 
over the passage quoted from him, together with 
Sextus s observation of Euripideifs being in the 
same sentiments, and so joined the name of Critias 
and the Iambics of Euripides together. But this is 
such a liberty of conjecturing, as would unsettle all 
the monuments of Antiquity. I take the true solu 
tion of the difficulty to be this: Critias, a man, as 
the Ancients deliver him to us, of atheistic prin 


ciples, and a fine poetic genius, composed these 
Iambics for the private solace of his Fraternity; 
which were not kept so close but that they got air, 
and came to the knowledge of Euripides ; to whom 
the general stream of antiquity concurs in giving a 
very virtuous and religious character, notwithstanding 
the iniquitous insinuations of Plutarch to the con 
trary. And the Tragic Poet, being to draw the 
Atheist, Sisyphus, artfully projected to put these 
Iambics into his mouth : for by this means the sen 
timents would be sure to be natural, as taken from 
real life ; and the poet safe from the danger of being 
called to account for them. And supposing this to 
be the case, Plutarch s account becomes very rea 
sonable; who tells us, the Poet delivered this 
atheistic doctrine by a dramatic character, to evade 
the justice of the Areopagus ; but, without this, it 
can by no means be admitted : For, thinly to screen 
impiety by the mere interposition of the Drama, 
which was an important part in their festivals, and 
under the constant eye of the Magistrate, was a 
poor way of evading the penetration and severity 
of that formidable judicature, how good a shift 
-soever it might prove against modern penal Laws. 
But the giving the known verses of Critias to his 
Atheist, was a safe way of keeping under cover. 
For all resentment must needs fall on the real 
author; especially when, it was seen, they were 
only produced for condemnation, as will now be 
shewn. Without doubt, the chief motive Euripides 


had in this contrivance, was the satisfaction of ex 
posing a very wicked man ; in which he had nothing 
from his adversary s power to deter him, for Critias 
was then a private man ; the Sisyphus being acted 
in the gist Olymp. and the tyranny of the Thirty 
not beginning till the latter end of the 93d. But 
what is above all, the genius and cast of that par 
ticular Drama wonderfully favoured his design : 
for the Sisyphus was the last of a tetralogy (rslpa- 
Xoyi x Tpftxajy opa/^arwy) or a satiric tragedy, in 
which species of poetry, a licence something re 
sembling that of the old comedy, of branding evil 
citizens, was indulged ; and where the same custom 
of parodying the verses of rival poets was in use. 
And we may be sure that Euripides, who was wont 
to satirize his fellow-writers in his serious tragedies 
(as where in his Electro, he ridicules the discovery 
in the Choephoroi of JEschylus] would be little 
disposed to spare them in this ludicrous kind of 
composition. Admitting this to be the case ; it 
could not but be, that, for a good while after, these 
Iambics would be quoted by some as Critias s, 
whose property they were; and by others, as 
Euripides s, who had got the use, and in whose 
Tragedy they were found ; and by both with reason. 
But in after-times, this matter was forgotten or not 
attended to ; and then some took them for Euri 
pides s, exclusive of the right of Critias ; and others, 
on the contrary: And as a Copyist fancied this or 
that man the author, so they read the text. Of this, 


we have a remarkable instance in the 35th verse, 
where a transcriber, imagining the fragment to be 
the Trag ; c Poet s, chose to read, 

Because this expresses the peculiar Physiology of 
Anaxagoras, the preceptor of Euripides; which 
Mr. Barnes thought a convincing prool of the frag 
ment s being really his: whereas that reading makes 
a sense defective and impertinent ; the true being 
evidently this of Grotius: 

And thus, I suppose, Plutarch and Sextus may be 
well reconciled. 

P. 251. [LL] The exquisitely learned Author 
of the English Commentary and Notes on Horaces 
Art of Poetry, has with admirable acumen detected 
and exposed the same kind of mistake in the 
dramatic Poets. Who when, as he observes, they 
were become sensible of the preference of Piays of 
character to Plays <of intrigue, never rested till 
they ran into this other extreme. But hear this fine 
writer in his own words : 

" The view of the comic scene being to delineate 
" characters, this end, I suppose, will be attained 
" most perfectly by making those characters as 
" universal as possible. For thus the person 
" shewn in the drama being the representative 

" of 


" of all characters of the same kind, furnishes, 

" in the highest degree, the entertainment of 

" humour. But then this universality must be 

" such as agrees not to our idea of the possible 

6 effects of the character, as conceived in the 

" abstract; but to the actual exertion of its powers 

which experience justifies, and common life 

" allows. MOLIKRE, and before him, PLAUTUS, 

had offended in this ; that, for a picture of the 

* avaritiom man, they presented us with the fan- 

" tastic unpleasing draught of the passion of avarice. 

-This is not to copy Nature, which affords 

u no specimen of a man turned all into a single 

passion. No metamorphosis could be more 

{ strange or incredible. Yet portraits of this vicious 

taste are the admiration of common starers. 

But if the reader would see the extravagance of 

" building dramatic manners on abstract ideas in 

{ its full light, he need only turn to Ben Jonson s 

Every Man out of his Humour ; which, under 

" the name of a play of character, is, in fact, 

" unnatural, wholly chimerical, and unlike any 

" thing we observe in real life. Yet this comedy has 

" always had its admirers. And Randolph , in par- 

" ticular, was so taken with the design, that he 

" seems to have ibrmed his Muses Looking-glass in 

& o 

; express imitation of it." Dissertation on the 
several provinces of the Drama, p. 239. 

When Pliny therefore compliments Silarion for 
giving one of his statues the expression not of an 


angry man, but of anger itself, either it is a mere 
Hight of rhetoric, to shew the just force of the 
artist s expression : or, if, indeed, the ferocious air 
did exceed the traces of humanity, the Philosopher s 
praise was misapplied, and the Statuary s figure 
was a Caricature. 

P. 259. [MM] His picture of Scipio Africanus 
"is, however, so very curious, that the learned 
reader will not be displeased to find it in this 

place : 

Quarn ubi ab re tanto impetu acta solicitudinem 
curamqae hominura animadvertit, ad vocata condone, 
ita cte aeiate sua imperioque mandato, et bello quod 
o-erendurn esset, inagno elatoque ammo disseruit, 
ut implerit homines certioris spei, quam quantain 
tides promissi humani, aut ratio ex fiducia reram 
siiibjicere solet. Fuit enim SCIPIO, non veris tantum 
virtutibus mirabilis, sed arte quoque quadarn ab 
juventa in ostentationem earuiri compositus : ple- 
raque apud multitudineoi, aut per nocturnas visa 
species, aut velut diviiiitus, inente monita, ageiis: 
sbce ut ipse ctipti quadam supcrstitione Gnimi, sive 
ut imperia consHiaquc, vtlut sorte oraculi mma, 
sine cunctiitiow asscquerctur. Ad base jam inde ab 
initio- prseparans animos, ex quo togain virilem 
^umpsit, nullo die prius ullam publieam privatamque 
rein egit, quam in Capitolium iret, ingiessusque 
$edem consideret, & plerumque ternpws solus in 
ibi tereret. Hie mos, qui per omnem vitain 



servabatur, sen consulto, sen temere, vulgatse opinion! 
fidem apud quosdam fecit, stirpis eurn divine virum 
esse, retulitque famam, in Alexandro Magno prius 
vulgutam, vanitate fabula parern, anguis 
immanis concubitu conceptual, & in cubiculo matris 
ejus persaepe visarn prodigii ejus speciem, inter* 
ventuque hominum evolutam repente, atque ex 
oculis elapsam. His miraculis numquam ab ipso 
elusa fides est ; quin potius aucta arte quadam, nee 
abnuendi tale quicquam, nee palam affirmandi. 
Hist. lib. xx vi. 

Hence we see with what judgment Cicero in his 
Republics makes the dream sent from Jove, con 
cerning a future state, to be communicated to his 

P. 262. [NN] That great observer of Nature, 
CERVANTES, having made Sancho (to save himself 
from the vexation of a sleeveless errand) palm 
upon his Master a supposititious Dulcinea, when 
the Squire comes to relate this adventure to the 
Dutchess, she extols his ingenuity so highly, that 
he begins to suspect himself tricked by the In- 
chanter into his own contrivance ; who had presented 
him with a true Dulcinea in Masquerade, while 
he thought he was barefacedly imposing on his 
Master a false one. 

P. 295. [OO] This ingenious conceit of SEED- 
CORN did not escape the Abbe Pluche, who in his 



Hist oire du del, hath judiciously employed it for 
the foundation of a reformed system on this matter; 
which, however, brings us to the same place, by 
a back way; and ends in this, that the Gods were 
not dead men deified. 


London : Printed by Luke Hansard & Sons, 
.eai Liucoln s-Inu Fields. 


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